By Rajesh Lall, MD FACC
Premier Heart and Vascular Center, South Lakeland

The sad truth is that cardiac problems tend to increase during the winter holiday season. Several studies have shown that heart attacks, especially the deadly ones, tend to increase in number during the holidays every winter. What’s more, there is even data that indicates that these increases are especially prominent on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

As you might expect, several things lead to heart attacks during winter and the holiday season. It’s a known fact that the cold weather can be hard on the human heart. However, the holiday season can also be problematic because of increased consumption of food and alcohol at this joyous (or stressful) time of the year.

As the holiday season is upon us, we thought we would bring to light all the symptoms of a heart attack you should watch out for during the holidays. Let’s take a look at the most prominent ones:

Heart Attack Symptoms You Should Watch Out for

Continuous chest pain

This is the most common symptom of a heart attack. It’s common because the cause of a heart attack is a blocked artery, which can cause you to feel pain, pressure and tightness in the chest.

Remember that if you feel this for a very short while and it hurts more when you touch your chest, then it’s most likely not a heart attack. However, if the pain is more severe and doesn’t go away after a couple of minutes, call 911.

Also, it’s worth noting that you don’t necessarily have to feel chest pain if you’re having a heart attack. In women, chest pain during a heart attack is fairly uncommon.

Pain in the left side of the body

Many people are aware that if you feel pain across your left side of the body, then you’re probably having a heart attack.

It’s important to remember that almost all heart attack related pain starts in the chest and then moves outward to the arm. In some cases, the pain can spread to the throat and jaw, as well.

Sudden fatigue and exhaustion

If you’re experiencing sudden fatigue or exhaustion during physical activities when you haven’t felt tired before, then you might be having a heart issue. For example, if you start to feel exhausted while climbing the stairs and you haven’t felt like that before, then you should visit your cardiologist as soon as possible.

Such unexplained weakness can be a sign of heart disease, especially with women.

Nausea, stomach pain, indigestion and heartburn

These symptoms are more common in women, but they also happen to men before a heart attack.

Naturally, these symptoms on their own are most likely related to something you ate or something else entirely. However, it’s important to know that they are tied to heart attacks as well, especially during the holidays.

Other Symptoms of Heart Attack

Besides those discussed above, you should be aware of these symptoms as well:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Sweating
  • Swollen legs, ankles and feet
  • A persistent cough
  • Irregular heartbeat

All in all, these are all the heart attack symptoms you should watch out for during the holiday season. If you have any more questions, or you’re looking for cardiology experts, feel free to contact Premier Heart and Vascular Center.