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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Heart Attacks increase during Christmas season

By far I am behind in my blog reading, yet I happened to check out COPD News of the Day to learn what I had already suspected, that the risk of heart attacks are up by 5% around the Christmas season.

She sites this article from which states that while ERs tend to be relatively slow on Christmas day, and patients opening presents don't even know they are at high risk for a heart attack. Yet many are.

The article notes that December 26 is one of the most hazardous days of the year for people "vulnerable" to cardiac problems such as heart attacks, arrythmias and heart failure (CHF).

The article also sites a 2004 study that showed heart related deaths increased about 5% around the Christmas season, the article notes, " perhaps because patients delay seeking treatment for heart problems or because hospital staffing patterns change."

I personally don't think it has anything to do with hospital staffing patterns. I think it has to do with modest patients thinking they are impervious and humble and delay seeking treatment for their seemingly life threatening condition.

I have written on my blog before how people simply don't want to be inconvenienced by doctors and medical stuff. It's not abnormal at all.

I've also noticed how the hospital tends to be ironically slow during the Christmas season. And while I'm working the days following the Christmas until after the New Year's Celebrations I expect there to be one or more cardiac patients being wheeled through the ER doors.

It's just a fact of life.

The resolution to this problem is the same as any other, and involves education. The more people are educated the more likely they will seek treatment.

Yet sometimes even us well educated delay seeking help, and in this case a good supporting cast of family members is essential to getting the good health care you need.

Just remember it's your life. It is up to you to take care of yourself. When you notice any of the following signs of heart problems call your doctor immediately, or have yourself taken to an emergency room ASAP:

Signs of heart problems include:

  1. Chest discomfort. It can stay or go away and come back. Generally it goes away and comes back.
  2. Uncomfortable pain in chest
  3. Dull pain in chest
  4. Squeezing pain in chest
  5. Full feeling in chest
  6. Jaw pain
  7. Left arm pain (most common)
  8. New onset back pain
  9. Stomach pain
  10. Right arm pain
  11. Nausea
  12. Heart Palpitations
  13. Shortness of breath
  14. Breaking out in a cold sweat
  15. Light headedness
  16. No symptoms at all
If you even notice one or a few of these symptoms you best be getting your heart to the emergency room. It's best to come in and be told you are fine than to stay home and hope you are fine.

We will not make fun of you for coming into the ER. In fact, just the opposite: we will respect you for taking the proper action when your body is feeling or acting funny.

I believe it is very rare for someone simply to drop dead of a heart attack without that person first showing and then perhaps ignoring the signs and symptoms. Take care of your body and your heart, and know the signs above.

Do this even if you are in good health. If you don't save your own life, perhaps you can use this information to save the life of a friend or loved one.


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