Holiday heart attacks spike as people gather for Thanksgiving

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Can spending time with family or overeating at Thanksgiving be hazardous to your health? The Chief of Cardiology at LSU Health says it can. Every year there is a spike in heart attacks associated with the holiday.

Family, friends, lots to eat and drink, and lots of stress that come with it get the blames.

Stress is a silent killer, leading to high blood pressure, heart problems, and other issues when coupled with other diseases like diabetes.

Stress can do a lot especially if over indulgence during the holiday dinner takes place.

“Those pressures tend to lead to a significant amount of stress,” Says Dr. Smart.  “And one of the symptoms you can try to mitigate.  But that’s one of the reasons we see an increase in heart attacks around the holidays is indulgence with too much food, alcohol, as well as a large amount of personal stress.”

So let’s say during or after dinner, some—even you—starts feeling something is wrong.

Chest pains, back pains, leg pain, deep pains radiating from the shoulders or arm pits.  All signs of a heart attack.

What should you do?

“Chew one aspirin or two if you have them,” Dr. Smart recommends as an immediate reliever.  “If anybody in the family knows CPR (Cardio-pulmonary-resuscitation) it’s a good idea to have somebody like that around.”

Dr. Smart says knowing CPR is always beneficial:  “This is a good time to plug learning CPR, because bystander CPR saves so many people who have an issue with heart attack or myocardial infarction.”