Experts: Heart attack deaths spike during the holidays

FILE - In this Thursday, June 6, 2013, file photo, a patient has her blood pressure checked by a registered nurse in Plainfield, Vt. A major new U.S. study shows treating high blood pressure more aggressively than usual cuts the risk of heart disease and death in people over age 50, the National Institutes of Health said Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, June 6, 2013, file photo, a patient has her blood pressure checked by a registered nurse in Plainfield, Vt. A major new U.S. study shows treating high blood pressure more aggressively than usual cuts the risk of heart disease and death in people over age 50, the National Institutes of Health said Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Christmas is meant to be a heartwarming season spent with loved ones, but it can also be hazardous for your heart.

Researchers have found that heart attack deaths are highest during the holidays.

This month, the entertainment world was shaken to its core.  Carrie Fisher suffered a heart attack, George Michael died from heart failure and a ruptured aorta killed Alan Thicke.

Doctor John Duncan with ViaScan in Irving, Texas feels these stories should serve as a warning.

“Many of the heart attacks that occur today could be prevented if people simply knew that they had a problem before the first signs and symptoms, which is a heart attack,” said Dr. Duncan.

Medical officials say heart attack deaths are highest during the holiday season.

“I think it’s a combination of people having hidden disease that they don’t know they have a blockage and then some triggers, the emotions of the holidays trigger the event to actually happen,” said Dr. Duncan.

Symptoms for heart disease could include anything from chest pains to shortness of breath. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all.

“The scary statistics from the American Heart Association is that the first symptom in the third of the people is sudden death,” said Dr. Duncan

Duncan says people should monitor their diet, cholesterol and get regular health screenings.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. For more information, talk to your doctor.

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