Heart attack risk spikes with winter holidays

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Trident Health wants Lowcountry people to know the risk of having a heart attack increases during the winter holidays.According to a 2004 study published by the journal 'Circulation,' death due to heart attacks is highest on Dec. 25, followed by Dec. 26 and Jan. 1.According to a release, one factor could be the cold weather, which can cause blood vessels to constrict and otherwise put extra strain on the hart. Other possible factor include changes in routines and environments, the rush of holiday events and the emotional impact of being with and without loved ones.Dr. William D. Yarbrough, Trident Health's medical director for cardiovascular service, said holiday food can also be a factor. He said serving food such as ham, seasoned turkey and stuffing could lead to people consuming more sodium than usual, which can cause problems for people with heart failure or high blood pressure.Doctors said the best thing to do is not ignore heart attack symptoms."If you are having severe chest pains, shortness of breath or other symptoms of a heart attack, then the correct thing to do is call 911 and have an ambulance come get you," said Dr. Yarbrough.Other symptoms include, chest discomfort, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea, fainting, dizziness, lightheadedness, and unusual fatigue.