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The Holiday Season is Stressful: What This Means for Your Heart Health

Dr. Joseph Freedman MD, MBA

The Holiday Season is StressfulThe Holiday season is upon us, and with all of the festivities, we should consider that this time of year can actually put a great deal of stress on our hearts. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in both men and women, and during the holidays, it’s essential to better understand and implement heart health and risk prevention.

Did you Know that Heart Attack Risks Increase Around this Season?
The risk of heart attack increases substantially during and after the holidays. The term “post-holiday heart attack” is a condition that is well-known by medical professionals. We are busier than ever during and after the holiday season. With parties, gift shopping, community events, and family gatherings, our stress levels are quite often through the roof. Emotional stress is a huge factor in blood pressure spikes. Along with anxiety, and the fact that most of us overindulge during this time of year. For example, we’re overeating, eating the wrong foods, like excessively salty and fatty fare, or we’re drinking too much alcohol.

When we overeat, it can raise our cholesterol levels, and when we drink too much alcohol, it can cause ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation causes rapid, electrical stimulations in your heart, and you may experience a dangerously high heart rate. Taking the time to make wise decisions can be the straw that allows for a happy holiday or an unfortunate one.

Keeping Your Heart Healthy Through the Holidays
• Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
• Cut down on stress levels
• Eat a healthy diet
• Exercise multiple times per week
• Get physical examinations and regular checkups recommendations
• Get professional help for cutting out narcotics and other drugs
• Practice relaxation methods
• Stop smoking
• Learn to say no/too many activities can lead to undue anxiety

Eating a healthy diet is strongly recommended for many health benefits, but in terms of keeping our hearts ticking along, a diet low in saturated fat, high in vegetables and fruits, legumes, healthy oils like olive oil and avocado is critical. Also, consuming less unhealthy carbohydrates and more low-fat proteins like fish and poultry are crucial. If you have high blood pressure, minimizing salt is also highly significant. Instead of salt, try substituting with lemon or spices and herbs.

Stay Active
Carve out time to exercise. It’s recommended that we get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise weekly or 1.5 hours of active cardiovascular training per week. It’s okay to do a combination of the two, by walking one day for 20 minutes and sprinting the next for 30. No matter what you decide, you should always consult your physician before embarking on any workout plan. Along with cardiovascular uptake, exercise helps to increase the oxygen in our blood, and this is relevant to our overall heart health.

Stop the Cycle of Harmful Habits
If you smoke, stop now. Smoking causes an array of adverse health effects, including increasing plaque buildup in our arteries, raising bad cholesterol, decreasing good cholesterol, and damages the vessel walls, to name a few. If you smoke, your chances of a heart attack are incredibly high; smoking causes 6 million deaths per year. Talk to your physician about a specific smoking cessation plan for you. This holds true for any drug addictions that you may have. Do not wait; get help today and enjoy this holiday season with friends and family in a healthy state.

At Cardiac Care Group, they take your symptoms seriously and are prepared to see you and to discuss your conditions. They specialize in providing a wide range of services that focus on the prevention, prompt diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Joseph Freedman, M.D., Cardiac Care Group
Dr. Freedman brings many years of experience as a cutting edge cardiologist specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all cardiac disease. He trained at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, continually ranked #1 in Cardiovascular Care, where he focused on cardiac imaging. He achieved five board certifications in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Comprehensive Adult ECHO, Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT. During his tenure as the lead noninvasive cardiologist at Florida Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale, he helped lead the hospital to achieve Level 5 chest pain certification, the highest designation of cardiac excellence.

He has spoken on national health care radio programs and has appeared on local news, highlighting the latest in cardiovascular care. Dr. Freedman prides himself on being an advocate for the patient. Every patient is unique, and he works carefully with leading local and national experts to make sure patients receive the best specialty procedural care possible for that particular case. Dr. Freedman has done research in cardiac MRI studies of the heart, in nuclear scanning, and has participated in the research trials of several leading cholesterol-lowering drugs. Dr. Freedman also has extensive experience in pulmonary hypertension and ran a large clinic in Broward County for these specific and often undiagnosed patients. Dr. Freedman speaks Spanish.

Contact Cardiac Care Group at (239) 574-8463
3208 Chiquita Blvd. S., Suite 110
Cape Coral, FL 33914

(239) 574-8463

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

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