Heart Attacks During the Holidays

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum on why heart attacks spike during the holidays.
4:44 | 12/21/11

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Transcript for Heart Attacks During the Holidays
We're all just about hitting that holiday stride right about now were running around trying to make sure that everything's perfect for the celebrations and but we have a statistic that you have to stop for second and here. Heart attack deaths -- on Christmas Day the day after Christmas and New Year's Day it is a grim statistic. But one that we're not entirely hopeless again so joining me now is doctor Susan -- bomb director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital here in New York City. -- -- thanks so much for being with us. -- this statistic really sends chills down the spine Christmas Day after and New Year's been the highest rate for heart attack why is that. Think anyone would actually be surprised to -- that I think this is the time of year. Where we are running around and forget about ourselves there's so much stress people are eating the wrong foods -- -- sought an alcohol were not paying attention to ourselves on our house. In the same way and it's also just cold outside. And in the cold our arteries actually constrict. Our blood pressures go up. And he added a little stress and a little colds and an increase in blood pressure and this is a setup for heart attack. It's a perfect storm is -- storm -- What about all also move possibly the staffing at hospitals doctors' offices because a lot of people are on vacation during that time. What else I would say that because we really have the staff at the hospitals to take care of people but interestingly. People -- tend to put off their doctor's appointments nobody really wants to be six during the holidays -- they might not be feeling voluntary you know level weight will -- Never when he especially when it comes to your heart is at the cold. Is that the change in temperature is that there is there one factor then you can pinpoint as -- more significant than others. It's definitely each one of them independently and really when you put them all together it's a potential disaster. People tend to all of -- and decide to start shoveling snow when they've never exercised before. And Elvis sighting in with the colds and with any underlying issues that might lead to heart disease. All the -- this but shoveling snow can really lead to a heart attack. Because that many think about it there really isn't that kind of strenuous activity that we have throughout the rest of the year with that kind of environmental condition on. That's absolutely right shoveling snow is actually one of the best exercise it and it involves all muscles your legs your arms your back. So we -- a lot of oxygen to those muscles to do that activity. And if you're not used to it. And you have risk factors for heart disease or any underlying problems. -- would hold off on that and let somebody else do it. Are some tips on prevention because obviously the numbers are out there in the very scary what can we do -- to help. If you're gonna travel. If you take medication make sure you have your medication with -- -- There's also an increase in flu during the season and get your flu shot -- Before and the fog don't forget to do that. Watch your diet I know there's a lot yummy foods but hold off on the alcohol. Really resist eating too much salt and and really restrain yourself make an eating plan before you go into the party so you don't. Overdue and get into that gluttony of just it's -- nonstop either you're feeding NetSuite to -- the -- craving inner whatever it might be. Attorney. And also understand. This stressful time so keep doing what you need to do to take care of yourself to get rid of the stress exercise don't forget to breed. You're going to be in the situation you're gonna see your family and just try to enjoy it as much as you cash and sometimes the only stress can add a huge factor to them. A big deal for -- And not everything's going to be perfect. But that's okay enjoy it for what it is it's family time it's fun time it's holiday time. And really pay attention to yourself. Don't -- things up until the holidays are over if you're not feeling well seek out help give her doctor Cobb. Doctors always going to be around and it's not your doctor there will be someone to cover. -- -- -- that's a great point and laugh. Any differences between men and women and -- -- anyone more at risk. I think both. Men and women are at risk I think each of us need to know our risk factors for heart disease high blood pressure high cholesterol if -- smoke. Diabetes family history obesity sedentary lifestyle stress. If you have these risk factors here -- a set up for heart disease. And now is not the time to test your heart. Really pay attention. Good in very good advice doctor Stein found thank you so much -- -- very happy holiday idea it's --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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