We all know the festive season can be stressful. But, experts are now warning that Christmas Eve could see a spike in heart attacks brought about by the pressures of Christmas, seasonal sadness and over indulgence. In fact, researchers have pinpointed a time that heart attacks are most likely to happen: at 10pm.
Scientists from the Lund University analyzed 283,014 heart attacks recorded in Swedish medical records over a 16-year period from 1998 to 2013 to find out what days could present the biggest heart attack risk.
The study, published in the BMJ, revealed that 50 heart attacks were recorded on an average day, but on Christmas Eve that figure jumped to 69, which equates to a 37% increase.
In general, heart attack rates at Christmas were found to be 15% higher than in the weeks before and after. The research also revealed that the risk of suffering a heart attack also rises by over a fifth (22%) on Boxing Day.
In Sweden the main part of the festivities takes place on Christmas Eve, which suggests that in the UK, the highest risk could be 10pm on Christmas Day.
Interestingly, while New Year’s Eve might be associated as being a period of over indulgence and emotional stress, researchers found a higher risk on New Year’s Day. The study authors suggested this could be down to family members visiting their hung-over relatives on New Year’s Day! The after effects of too much alcohol and food the night before, coupled with sleep deprivation could also explain the increased NYD risk.