Christmas and New Year's holidays are festive occasions celebrated by millions around the world, yet why do heart-attack related deaths spike during this merry season.
Medical researchers are not exactly sure as to the causes of the mystery of increased deaths during the festive holidays. However, over the last decade, this phenomenon has been receiving more attention and has been documented more.
Some researchers have postulated that colder weather during these holidays increases the stress on the heart as cold can constrict blood vessels. However, recent analysis revealed that increased deaths occur not only in temperate climates but even on warmer climate countries.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne headed by Josh Knight decided to exclude the weather factor and took 25 years of data from New Zealand where Christmas and New Year during the summer season. It was found that there was a 4% increase in deaths as compared to the rest of the year as reported in a journal from the American Heart Association.
According to a reprt published by Vocativ, studies showed that an increased amount of alcohol consumption coupled with increased consumption of rich foods during the festive occasion might likely be the culprit. People tend to put off exercise during the holidays and eat more, putting greater stress on the heart.
Another likely factor for the increased mortality rate during this season is that people tend to travel. This puts individuals in places which are not familiar to them, thus in an emergency event, they may not be able to seek medical intervention as quickly.
In a related research, it was found that increased physical exertion on otherwise sedentary individuals may cause increased cardiac strain. Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD, a professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and a researcher at Good Samaritan Hospital states that activities such as shoveling snow greatly strains the heart.
During these merry occasions experts suggest that people should refrain from excessive alcohol intake as this may cause atrial fibrillations. Consumption of meats and sweets should also be in moderation as people tend to binge during the holidays.