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Study shows a higher risk of heart attacks around Christmas

23Strands News
23Strands News December 04, 2018

A recent study by Swedish researchers suggests that Christmas is the peak time for heart attacks.


The study looked at all 283,014 registry documented heart attacks between 1998 and 2013, including the date and time when symptoms began.

Results showed that in the two weeks before and after Christmas, the risk of heart attack was 15 percent higher on Christmas Day and 37 percent higher on Christmas Eve. New Year’s Day also saw risk increase by 20%.

Whilst the study is observational and draws no conclusions about the causation of increased risk, the senior author, Dr. David Erlinge, head of the cardiology department at Lund University in Sweden, explains that the holiday season comes with its unique pressures and stresses — travel, fraught relationships with relatives and friends, preparing for and entertaining large numbers of guests, extra physical activity and, how could we forget, eating and drinking far too much.

“It’s a big study, not a sample,” he explains. “Every heart attack for 16 years in the whole country is in it. It’s reality.”