Be careful at Christmas; holidays can be hard on your heart

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but with all the joys of the holiday season come some problems, not the least of which can be health concerns.

Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Öz, better known as Dr. Oz, suggests that for some, Christmas can become so stressful that it can lead to a heart attack. He says this is especially true for women.

Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Öz, better known as Dr. OzDr. Mehmet Cengiz Öz, better known as Dr. Oz

His website offers six tips for preventing a holiday dash over the river and through the woods to the emergency room. In general he suggests, among other things, that we stress less, eat less, drink less and don’t lose track of taking any medications that have been prescribed.

Dr. Oz also wants us to know when we need to get help. He says, “Scientists suspect that death rates from heart attacks increase at the holidays because people wait too long to get help. Some may attribute their discomfort (which is often mild in the beginning) to indigestion; others may not want to be a bother on the big day.”

He adds, here’s what you can do: “If you, or someone you are with, are experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack, don’t wait to see if it passes, call 911 and get to the nearest emergency room.”

Here’s what he says are heart attack symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest that may feel like pressure, squeezing or fullness
  • Pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating and exhaustion
  • Nausea and dizziness

And, here’s the kicker for women. Dr. Oz says you should be on the lookout for those last three symptoms.

“Women often don’t experience the classic center chest pain and therefore may not get the fast treatment they need,” says Oz.