The holidays are a time of enjoyment and celebration for many, but there are some underlying dangers associated with the period from Thanksgiving to New Years in regards to heart-related illness. A 5% spike in strokes and heart attacks around the holidays has been reported by a 2004 study in the journal Circulation. The source of the spike was found to be attributed to overindulgence on food and alcohol as well as the added stress that some can experience during the holidays.
Overindulgence on holiday foods can flood the vascular system with loads of sodium, sugars, and fats that lead to an increase in emergency room visits around the holidays. Coupled with this, is the condition known as “Holiday Heart” which develops from excessive drinking and can cause the heart to fibrillate unnaturally for a brief period thus leading to an increase in heart attacks and ischemic, clot strokes.
Tips to avoid being apart of the 5% spike in stroke and heart attacks experienced around this time of year can be found in portioning your foods, limiting yourself to 1 alcoholic beverage for women and 2 for men at holiday events, and reducing stress by exercising and getting enough sleep.
We here at the Foundation wish everyone a great holiday season and ask our visitors to remain aware of the basic signs and symptoms of stroke since there is an increase this time of year:
- Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headaches with no known cause (for hemorrhagic stroke)
And when a stroke happens get BUSY.
- B = Body: Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one drift down? Is one arm weak or numb?
- U = Uneven: Check to see if the person’s face is uneven and slanted on one side.
- S = Speech: Check their speech and ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does it sound strange or slurred?
- Y = Yes to any of these signs? Get BUSY and call 911, every minute counts with stroke!