Holidays can be hard on our hearts

Doctors typically see an increase in cardiovascular events this time of year

Author: Jodi Mohrmann, Managing editor of special projects, jmohrmann@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 05 2013 09:55:19 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 06 2013 05:00:00 PM EST

Your credit card bill isn't the only thing that could go up this time of year, your heart rate can, too.  Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist Dr. Richard Krasuski says he typically sees an increase in cardiovascular events this time of year for a variety of reasons.

"So, stress can obviously impact the heart. People that have depression, other things, this can be a very difficult time for them, particularly those that are alone or those that don't have extended families this is a very traumatic period of time," said Krasuski.

If you don't typically drink, but have a few at a holiday party, it could cause an irregular heartbeat, or what is known as "holiday heart."

And while it's not normally an issue here in Florida, people who live in cities where they have to shovel snow, that task could trigger a heart attack, especially for those with coronary artery disease.

Krasuski says signs of trouble include chest discomfort that does not go away.  You may also feel short of breath, or your heart may start racing. That's why he  says it's good to know how to take your own pulse.

"I always teach my patients to take their own pulse," said Krasuski.  "You take your two fingers, you put it over your radial artery, which is over in this area here by your thumb. You feel that. If you feel that racing significantly and you're at rest- obviously that's not such a good thing."

Krasuski says many times people will put off seeing the doctor until after the holidays but if you start to experience some of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away.