From cooking to shopping, hosting, traveling, and more, it’s easy to become distracted and forget to get in those 8 glasses of water each day. “The holidays are a busy, often stressful, time for many of us,” Dr. Mitchell S.V. Elkind, American Heart Association Chief Clinical Science Officer, told the AHA Newsroom. “Routines are disrupted; we may tend to eat and drink more and exercise and relax less. We’re getting too little sleep and experiencing too much stress.”
Experts have further narrowed down the data surrounding heart attack risk during the holiday season to one specific day: Christmas Day. In a 2004 study published in the scientific journal Circulation, researchers found that rates of cardiac death are highest on December 25, with December 26 following close behind. New Year’s Day is the third day out of the whole year during which the greatest number of cardiac deaths occur. The researchers based these findings on the number of deaths upon arrival at the hospital, the number of patients that died in the emergency room, or those who died as outpatients. The study team used death certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics. In addition to stress, cold temperatures, and eating habits during the holidays, the researchers note that many people also tend to postpone medical appointments until after the holidays have passed.