Holiday Heart Attack?

Well, I thought ‘tis the season for snowmen, fruit cakes, and mistletoe—NOT—heart attack season, but evidently December through January is prime time for coronaries. Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press reports:

But what may make the Christmas coronary more deadly than the same-size heart attack in, say, August, is a double dose of denial. It's not uncommon for people to initially shrug off chest pain as indigestion. Research suggests they're even more reluctant for a run to the emergency room when it means disrupting a holiday gathering, or if they've traveled to a strange city — meaning they arrive sicker.

Minutes matter.

"You have only a short window of opportunity to save heart muscle," warns Dr. William Suddath of Washington Hospital Center in the nation's capital — where a cardiac team on-duty 24 hours a day aims to start clearing victims' clogged arteries within 15 minutes of their arrival in the emergency room.

I guess it makes sense in this season of excess.

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LLouise - December 5, 2007 12:13 PM

I was recently thinking of asking Dr.Fuhrman a question related to this on the forum, since, I think he has mentioned that a large amount of heart attacks occur at this time.
I wonder: Is it from consuming a humongous amount of unhealthful foods all at once that prompts it? Or is it an accumulation of year-end, holiday (family!) stressors just coming together and causing a person, who's ready to blow any minute anyway, to have one? Obviously these people are sick already; but what exactly ignites?
Anyone have any ideas or information on this?

Joel Fuhrman, MD - December 5, 2007 2:10 PM


It is just from big holiday meals with lots of heart stopping food. After a big, fatty meal, the blood cells and platelets are coated with fat that increases their stickiness and propensity to clot.

LLouise - December 5, 2007 2:25 PM

Oh, okay, how scary. Thanks, Dr. Fuhrman!

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