Holiday Season Brings On Heart Attacks

Joy Hollowell

Updated 3 years ago

While many of us are winding down from Christmas, Santa Claus is already getting in gear for *next* Christmas.This is a busy time of year for Kris Kringle.As Joy Hollowell tells us, all the holiday hustle and bustle can put Mister Claus, and many among us, at risk for a heart attack.+++He’s the icon of Christmas time. The big man in the red suit, climbing up and down countless chimneys to deliver toys on Christmas Eve, stopping only to munch on cookies and milk.Unfortunately, says Dr. Norm Dinerman, this all makes Santa Claus a prime candidate for a heart attack.”I mean here’s someone that’s a little overweight. He’s under time constraints. He’s involved in a lot of physical exertions,” says Dr. Dinerman, an Emergency Medial Physician at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. This is also a busy time of year for his department. More people die of heart attacks on Christmas day, the day after Christmas and New Year’s day than any other time of year.”In everybody, pain in the chest, pain that radiates to the neck, the jaw, the teeth, down the left arm. Some sweating, some shortness of breathe, some dizziness, these are things that we worry about as emergency medicine physicians,” says Dr. Dinerman.The problem is that around the holidays, these symptoms can be mistaken for indigestion or just the excitement of the season.”Be very mindful of the fact that we will physically and emotionally exert ourselves at this time of year,” says Dr. Dinerman. “And if that plays a component in Myocardial Infarction, that’s fancy doctor talk for heart attack, this is the time of year that it would play a role.”And, says Dr. Dinerman, that includes Jolly Old Saint Nick.”I can’t imagine that I would want Santa Claus as a patient, I think he’s a career case for a cardiologist,” says Dr. Dinerman with a wink.====


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