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Keeping Your Heart Healthy This Holiday Season

Written by: Lauren Strait

The holiday season is often filled with joy, celebrations, and indulgences. However, it can also be a time of increased stress and unhealthy habits that can negatively impact heart health. In this blog post, we will explore tips for maintaining heart health during the holidays based on a radio show transcript with cardiologist Dr. Sudarone Thihalolipaven of Arizona Heart Rhythm Center.

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, mRisk of Heart Issues During the Holidays

The holidays pose some specific risks for heart health according to Dr. Thihalolipaven. He notes that there is statistically a 5% increase in heart attacks during the holiday season. Some reasons for this include increased stress, missing medications, overindulging in food and alcohol, and taking on more physical activities like shoveling snow. The holidays can distract us from focusing on our health, so it is important to remain vigilant.

Know the Signs of Heart Issues

It is critical to listen to your body and be aware of any signs of potential heart issues. Dr. Thihalolipaven states that common symptoms can include lightheadedness, dizziness, chest pain, palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. However, not everyone experiences noticeable symptoms, which makes routine doctor visits and checkups even more vital. Wearable technology like the Apple Watch can also help detect abnormal heart rhythms.

Don’t Ignore Family History

Knowing your family history of heart disease is crucial. If heart issues run in your family, you are at increased risk yourself. Discuss this with your doctor as they may recommend preventative measures like cholesterol medication and lifestyle changes at an earlier age. Genetic testing has advanced significantly in recent years to help assess cardiovascular risk.

Explore Your Treatment Options

According to Dr. Pavan, cardiovascular care has changed dramatically in the past decade. There are now less invasive procedures and improved medical devices that can help treat heart arrhythmias. Patients shouldn’t assume they have to just ‘live with’ certain conditions. Have an open discussion with your cardiologist about your latest options. Referrals are no longer needed to see specialists.

Practice Moderation During Celebrations

It can be challenging to eat healthy and avoid overindulging during the holidays. Dr. Thihalolipaven suggests trying to offset increased food and alcohol intake by maintaining exercise routines. Don’t completely deprive yourself either. Find a healthy balance to get through the season, then refocus in January. Also be sure to keep taking all medications as prescribed.

Listen to Your Body

The key message is to listen to your body. If something feels off or different than normal, get it checked out right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your heart health. Make your health the priority amidst the busyness of the holidays.

Staying heart healthy during the holidays does require some extra awareness and diligence. However, by knowing the warning signs, understanding your risks, exploring modern treatment options, practicing moderation, and listening to your body, you can avoid potential issues and enjoy the season safely. Consult your physician if you have any concerns.

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