• Study claims people are most likely to have a heart attack on Christmas Eve
  • This was the conclusion after 238,000 heart attacks between 1998 and 2013 were analysed
  • Based on the findings of this study, Nigerians are in trouble as heart-related problems are responsible for 24.5 per cent of all deaths in the country.

A study, conducted in Sweden, says you are most likely to have a heart attack on Christmas Eve.

According to the researchers from Lund University, a person's chances of getting a heart attack rises by as much as 37 per cent and is at an optimal level by 10 pm on December 24. They also concluded that the risk of heart attacks is higher during Christmas, New Year's Eve and Day.

This puts Nigerians at an even higher risk as hypertension, which can lead to heart attack and other cardiac diseases, remains the major cause of sudden deaths in the country.

Speaking at a symposium on “Sudden Death in Nigeria: Public Dissemination of National Survey” in 2017, the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, Prof. Babatunde Salako, said, “It is a silent killer because it usually presented with no early symptoms.”

“There is an urgent need to curb hypertension and the males are more affected than females," he added.

It is also one of the top 10 causes of death in the county with heart-related problems causing 24.5 per cent of all deaths in 2017, according to Health Data.

Heart-related problems are one of the top 10 causes of death in Nigeria
Heart-related problems are one of the top 10 causes of death in Nigeria
healthdata

In the observational study, the researchers said: "In this nationwide real-world study covering 16 years of hospital admissions for myocardial infarction with symptom onset documented to the nearest minute, Christmas, and Midsummer holidays were associated with higher risk of myocardial infarction, particularly in older and sicker patients, suggesting a role of external triggers in vulnerable individuals."

While they could not establish the exact reason for the spike during the holiday season, the researchers noted that emotional distress, anxiety, sadness, grief, stress, excessive food intake, alcohol, and long distance travelling could increase one's chance of getting a heart attack.

238,000 heart attacks between 1998 and 2013 were analysed for the research, which was published in the British Medical Journal.

How to prevent a heart attack

One minute you are having fun with your family, the next you are clutching your chest as you hit the ground in pain. According to a study appearing in the latest issue of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, this is what 45 per cent of all heart attacks look like.

This is what makes heart diseases so dangerous, why they are the world's biggest killers and why you need to do your best to prevent it by doing the following:

  • Drink water before going to bed

Cardiologists recommend drinking a glass of water before bed as it helps reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. 

A study in the American Journal of Medical Epidemiology found that participants "who drink five or more glasses of plain water per day have a much lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease, compared to those who drink less than two glasses per day." 

Drink water before going to bed
Drink water before going to bed
  • Get some exercise

Exercising during the holidays might not sound like fun but it has to be done if you want to prevent a heart attack. You don't have to go to the gym as even half an hour of walking will do the trick. Just make sure your heart rate goes up.

  • Eat healthy foods

While this might not be easy considering the season, you should still try to eat a diet rich in fruits, veggies and whole grains. According to the American Heart Association, you should also reduce saturated fats ( fried foods), excess alcohol and sugar.