Monday 26 December 2005

Holiday Woes Of The Heart

For some individuals who are at risk of heart disease, the Christmas holiday season can be a dangerous time for their health. Past epidemiological studies had founder higher incidences of heart attack and heart failure during the winter season as compared with the summer season. Today, Canada’s national newspaper The Globe and Mail published a story on the syndrome that was dubbed the “Merry Christmas coronary” and the “Happy New Year heart attack.” In it, the column cited studies from the US and France but also data from our own research group in Canada to which I belong. The phenomenon is of great public health interest because it remains unclear what preventable measures can be taken by the population to reduce the risks of cardiac morbidity or mortality during the winter season. While the colder outdoor temperature is an obvious potential culprit responsible for the holiday “woes” of the heart, many other environmental factors as well as the behaviours of the population are also likely to be at play. Moreover, I had suggested that it might be the response of the population to the changing environment that is more of a determinant of risk than the actual environment where the population is currently inhabited. For example, the story cited our data showing that the increase in heart attack and heart failure rates is paradoxically higher in Southern than Northern Canada, despite the fact the climate in the north is colder than the south. Future studies should help to discover the underlying causes of this winter danger and derive appropriate public health measures. In the meantime, the public should heed to the advice of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and use common sense to minimize risky behaviors that may increase the risks of having heart attack or heart failure.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under Health • Under Study • Under Work • Under World
Public Post • CommentsTrackbacksPermalink


Your Comments

  • Comments are visible only to registered members.

My Related Entries

Enter Your Comment





Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word below for security verification