Study: Holiday Season Increases Heart Attack Risk

Not everyone feels holly and jolly this time of year, and new research from Sweden finds the odds of a heart attack jump nearly 40 percent on Christmas Eve. Skane University’s Dr. David Erlinge, study author, says “Traditional holidays were associated with increased risk of heart attack. The risk overall during Christmas [Day] /New Year’s [Day] was 15 percent higher than a regular December day.” After looking at data of more than 300,000 heart attack patients, researchers determined that the risk was highest at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. However, the study did not prove the holiday actually caused heart attack risk to rise, only that there seemed to be an association. But what is it about Christmas Eve? Researchers say it could be emotional distress, anger, anxiety, sadness, grief, and stress coupled with excessive food intake, alcohol, and distance travel.