FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The holidays can be a stressful time, and doctors say this time of year, they generally see an increase in heart attacks.
“Unfortunately heart attacks usually spike during the stressful period of the year,” Dr. Nasser Adjei said.
Adjei, a cardiologist at Sparks Regional Medical Center, said there are several reasons why heart attacks are prevalent during the holidays.
“It`s a time where family wants to be together and everybody`s stressing about how to impress your family, you know, so our mind is taking off from our bodies,” Dr. Adjei said.
Increased alcohol consumption and smoking are also factors.
“The other important one is people just ignore themselves during the holiday season because we tell ourselves, it`s the holiday season," he said. "We eat anything that we get because it`s just celebration and during that time we really tend to overdo things and forget about taking care of ourselves.”
According to a Circulation study, the number of cardiac deaths is the highest on December 25th. That’s followed by December 26th and January 1st.
EMT Lexie Bennett said she will be working Christmas Day.
“We are always prepared for emergent calls, especially on Christmas,” she said.
Bennett and Dr. Adjei both say if you think you're having a heart attack, don't ignore the symptoms.
“Activating 911 quickly preserves lives,” Dr. Adjei said. “The sooner we get to you, the better we can take care of you and the better we can preserve your heart function.”
The main warning sign of a heart attack is discomfort or heaviness in the chest. Other symptoms include weakness, shortness of breath and pain in the jaw throat or arm. For more information, click here.