Dear Mayo Clinic: Is it true that heart attacks are more common around the holidays? If so, why is that? What can people do to lower their risk?
Answer: Heart attacks, along with heart problems in general, are more common around the holidays. Various factors can play into this, including stress, travel, changes in diet and disrupted schedules. Fortunately, many self-care steps can help keep your heart healthy.
One of the biggest challenges this time of year is healthy eating. For people with heart problems, choosing a heart-healthy diet amid an abundance of holiday foods can be daunting. But not straying too far from your normal diet is important. Keep portion sizes reasonable and limit fatty foods. Eating too much can lead to chest pain or shortness of breath in some people with heart problems. Drink small amounts of alcohol, if any, as alcohol can raise your risk for heart rhythm problems and heart attack. Men should not drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day. Women should not have more than one.