The holidays are a time for parties and family, but did you also know they're a time for heart attacks? "We certainly see a fair amount of heart attacks on Christmas day," said LewisGale Physician Assistant Matt Bowles.
It's partly because people are out doing more. Physical exertion can put stress on the heart.
Holiday feasting can also contribute to heart attacks. "Typically around the holidays we eat more large meals which can elevate your blood pressure," said Bowles. "When you actually eat a very large meal your heart starts to work harder to basically supply blood to your Gastrointestinal system to digest that food."
Cold temperatures can also increase blood pressure. Those things might not be a problem in a healthy person. But if someone has coronary artery disease and they don't know it, it could put them at high risk for a heart attack
That means it's crucial to know the signs of heart trouble and not to ignore them.
"If you have any significant chest discomfort especially with exertion, if you've been out doing work around house and you have chest pain and it's moderate to severe you should probably get that checked out," said Bowles.
Nausea, shortness of breath and sweating can also be signs of a heart attack.
Increased alcohol intake and holiday stress can also contribute to heart attacks during the holidays.