Skip to Main Content

Heart Health Concerns During the Holidays

Posted in: Blogs , English

Winter is a time for family celebrations, warm cocoa, and holiday cheer. Unfortunately, the season can also intensify heart problems and lead to heart attacks. Heart-related mortality rates increase 5 percent during the holidays, particularly around Christmas and New Year’s Day. Take care of your heart by taking the proper precautions.

Contributing Factors

With all the festivities, places to be, and people to see, those with heart issues may tend to put off seeking medical attention when something is not right. The stress of family obligations and other commitments can cause negative reactions that take a toll on your heart. On top of that, unhealthy food and exercise habits can take over during the holidays. Increased consumption of alcohol and fatty, salt-heavy foods can wreak havoc on your blood pressure and heart. The lack of physical activity adds even more danger.

One surprising factor that doesn’t contribute to increased cardiac distress? The weather. Studies conducted in Los Angeles, where the temperature doesn’t change too drastically, and New Zealand, where they experience summer weather during Christmas and New Year celebrations, showed that there was still an uptick in the mortality rate. So while there are many factors contributing to the increased rate of heart disease deaths around the holiday season, the cold isn’t one of them.

Managing Stress & Blood Pressure

The good news is, there are some simple steps you can take to manage your blood pressure and stress levels.

High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder and can lead to a heart attack. Manage your blood pressure by eating healthy foods in proper portions. Don’t forget to exercise; get some physical activity indoors, or layer up and head outside for a quick walk around the block. Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Follow your doctor’s orders and recommendations to keep your blood pressure in check.

Stress is a natural occurrence in life that can increase your risk of heart disease due to its effect on blood pressure, plaque buildup, blood clotting, and other factors. But how your body responds to it is up to you. In order to control your response to stress, first identify its primary causes in your life. Then you can take steps to manage it. Great ways to take control of stress include getting plenty of exercise, building a support system, treating depression or anxiety, and maintaining a good work-life balance.

Make sure you’re aware of the symptoms of a heart attack. If you feel like something’s not right with your heart, don’t delay seeking medical treatment. Call 911 or visit your nearest St. Luke’s Health emergency department for quick, expert care when time is critical.


Journal of the American Heart Association | Cardiac Mortality Is Higher Around Christmas and New Year’s Than at Any Other Time
Time | Why Heart Attacks Spike at Christmas
Journal of the American Heart Association | The “Merry Christmas Coronary” and “Happy New Year Heart Attack” Phenomenon

Recent Updates

Factors that can increase your risk of liver cancer

DEC 08, 2022

The liver is the second largest and hardest working organ. The liver is relentless. It works nonstop behind the scenes to keep us healthy. It removes waste and produces bile, which helps turn fat into energy.

Read More Additional information about Factors that can increase your risk of liver cancer | St. Luke's Health

Start the mental health conversation with your PCP

DEC 08, 2022

Mental health is central to our health and well-being. In fact, mental health problems are very common and represent a significant proportion of primary care visits.

Read More Additional information about Start the mental health conversation with your PCP | St. Luke's Health

The truth about diet products that promise quick results

DEC 08, 2022

In general, diet trends that promise fast, unrealistic results are never a good idea. But when it comes to losing weight, what's the best approach? Here's what you should know before you follow the next nutrition trend.

Read More Additional information about The Truth About Diet Products | St. Luke's Health

Find a Doctor

Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.