Did you know cardiac deaths are highest on December 25th, second highest on December 26th and 3rd on January 1st. Does that make your heart race a little? It should. Please slow down, take some time for yourself and know the risks and symptoms.
Risk factors include the obvious including smoking, high blood pressure, high lipids, diabetes, lack of exercise and increased age. Not so obvious factors: cold weather, emotional stress and over-indulgence. Plus at the holidays, people drink more, eat more, exercise less.
A big problem during the holidays is that people delay getting treatment in order to not disrupt the holidays and women are particularly guilty of this.
Women also may not present the same as men. The symptoms may not be so obvious. Men tend to get the “elephant on the chest, jaw pain, radiation down the arm. Then drop to the floor, clutching their chest. Women may not be so obvious. Although the most common in both is chest pain or pressure.
Women can also experience any of the following:.
a. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
b. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
c. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
d. Flu-like symptoms
e. Uncharacteristic fatigue
f. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
What you can do:
a. Pile on the layers. Try to avoid exposure to very cold temperatures. Dress warmly.
b. Take a load off. Steer clear of heart stressors, including too much physical exertion (especially snow shoveling), anger, and emotional stress.
c. Make good choices. Avoid excess salt and alcohol.
d. Get help. If you feel chest pain or other symptoms, call 911 for emergency help.
The stakes are high. So give yourself and your family a gift this season. Don’t postpone a doctor appointment or treatment because you don’t want to spoil the holiday merrymaking.