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Heart Attack Rates On High; Christmas Holiday Season Not So Good For The Heart

First Posted: Dec 26, 2016 03:30 AM EST

Scientists have recorded increase in the mortality rates associated with heart attacks in the last few years, especially during the Christmas holidays. The exact reason behind this is unclear and is attributed to many factors. One of the most common perceptions was that the heart attacks are concomitant with the cold season.

The Not-So-Good Holiday Effect

A recent study conducted by a team of scientists of the University of Melbourne, under the leadership of Josh Knight, involved analysis of mortality rates in the last 25 years in New Zealand, where Christmas and New Year fall in summer season.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association and showed that irrespective of the weather conditions, the data indicated 4.2 percent increase in heart attack rates, according to Hindustan Times.

"Using data from a country where Christmas occurs in the height of summer, he was able to separate any 'holiday effect' from the winter effect," Knight said. Scientists are now brainstorming and trying to evaluate the possible factors that may contribute to the spike in the rate of heart attacks.

The Stress of Christmas Holidays

Experts are of the opinion that the holiday season is a stressful time for many, due to the multiplied social and financial obligations, which in turn increases blood pressure and the chances of occurrence of cardiac complications, Time reported.

In addition, most people travel during the holidays and have restricted access to healthcare facilities during such time. This may be a factor that augments the fast deterioration of health during the holidays. Knight said, "This could contribute to delays in both seeking treatment, due to a lack of familiarity with nearby medical facilities and due to geographic isolation from appropriate medical care in emergency situations."

Furthermore, "displacement of death" or postponing death guided by the urge to experience one more holiday season or meet with family and friend can also be a contributing factor. "The ability of individuals to modify their date of death based on dates of significance has been both confirmed and refuted in other studies, however it remains a possible explanation for this holiday effect," Knight explained.

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