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Avoid holiday triggers for heart attack, stroke

  • COURTESY DREAMSTIME

    Several studies have shown an increase in heart attacks and strokes in December and January.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can bring unexpected medical concerns, including increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Several studies have shown that the incidence of heart attack and stroke increases in December and January, particularly on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

It’s the time of year when we often find ourselves at holiday parties where plenty of alcohol and high-fat foods are offered. Overindulging in spiked eggnog and rich buttery cookies can lead to more than indigestion.

To minimize the risk of a visit to the emergency room, Dr. Kevin Barrett, vascular neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Florida and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Primary Stroke Center, offers these tips:

>> Reduce stress.

>> Eat and drink in moderation.

>> Be vigilant with medication.

>> Exercise — and get rest.

>> Know the symptoms for heart attack and stroke, and don’t delay in seeking medical attention.

Taking time to be mindful of stress and the triggers of heart attack and stroke can help safeguard an enjoyable and pleasant holiday season.

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