Heart problems spike during the holidays, Lincoln cardiologist says

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – There are many things that can harm your health, specifically your heart, during festive times, including a change in diet, alcohol or stress.

“Cardiovascular events shown to be more common around the holidays,” said Dr. Brock Cookman of Bryan Health. “Specifically, Dec. 24-25 and then, Jan. 1st.” 

Cookman mentioned some of the reasons why this happens.

“It could be the stress of the holidays or activity levels,” he said. “Maybe we lack on our salt intake or maybe we are more indulgent on alcohol during the holiday season.” 

Winter weather also leads to problems for many people, as they can face an increased risk of a heart attack when dealing with heavy snow.

“If you have a history of cardiovascular events or cardiovascular disease, snow shoveling does put extra stress on the body, a lot of time is that we are not doing a lot of that type of activity on a regular basis.” 

Cookman said people should pay attention to symptoms like chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath and nausea.

He says people with symptoms, especially those with heart disease or other illnesses, should look for care as soon as possible. 

Cookman said people with cardiovascular diseases should remember to take their medications during the holidays.

He said leaning on family members can help with some of the stress. 

Experts with CHI Health also suggest limiting some of the holiday activities and asking your doctor what activities are appropriate. 

“It’s important that, if you have any heart conditions, you are asking your physicians if that’s even an activity that I should do or do I need to have friends and neighbors come over and do that,” said Tracy Dethlefs-Rademacher with CHI Health Good Samaritan in Kearney.

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