As we all know, the holidays only come around once per year. It's a time filled with family, friends, generosity and good times to be had by all. However, the holidays are also known for a much more bleak reason as well.

It is during the holiday season, particularly from the week of Christmas, up until New Years that people are at much higher risk of experiencing a cardiac event. It goes without saying, cardiac events must be taken incredibly seriously as some can be fatal.


Taking a Look at Factors That Can Lead to Cardiac Events

First, it should be stated that there are numerous factors that can contribute to any individual being more at risk of suffering some type of cardiac event. Many of those factors are things we have heard time and time again. Elderly individuals, those who are overweight, individuals who live more sedentary lifestyles, smokers, those who overindulge in high fat foods or alcohol, these are all factors that can contribute to chances of having a cardiac event.

Many other factors may also contribute to why people may be at higher risk for a cardiac event during the holidays. Dr. Mich Elkind, the Chief Clinical Science Officer for the American Heart Association told sources that another factor that can contribute to cardiac events this time of the year is...

during the holidays, people are less likely to seek medical attention when they have an may be because people are traveling, so they're in an unfamiliar environment, and they don't exactly know where the hospitals are...


So something that we might not normally even consider, like traveling could also potentially play a role in this "phenomenon". More factors that the doctor stated could play a role are if individuals had previously suffered from upper respiratory disease like a cold or flu or other illnesses are common during winter months.

Statistics of Cardiac Events During the Holidays

It was previously stated that the week of Christmas, leading up to New Years is the time of the year where cardiac events are most likely to occur. According to the American Heart Association the top 3 days for cardiac deaths occur in a single year are...

December 25 - more cardiac deaths occur on this day than any other day of the year

December 26 - second most cardiac deaths occur

January 1 - third most cardiac deaths occur

Female medicine doctor hands holding toy heart
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dr. Elkind would also say that statistically during the winter months, chances of experiencing a cardiac event "increases by 10%" and then increases again by an additional "5% on Christmas and New Years Days" respectively.

How to Identify and What to do During a Cardiac Event

Though the thought of a cardiac event happening to oneself or someone you know is scary, you do have the ability to lessen the impact of its effects. First and foremost, recognize the warning signs. Some of these signs may consist of chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea and many other symptoms.

Another key to handling a cardiac event is knowing CPR. It's never a bad thing to know how to perform CPR in any situation, but being able to provide care for someone until medical professionals can administer care can play a crucial role in a cardiac event.

Red heart on woman and child hands and with doctor's stethoscope on wooden background
Getty Images/iStockphoto

None of this should scare or deter anyone from having a great holiday this year, however all of this is worth being aware of. I hope greatly that everyone has an event free holiday season and if this situation were to arise, maybe, just maybe you'll know a little more than you did previously about what to do.

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