Keep your heart safe this Christmas and New Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but as you are probably aware, also the most stressful!  During Christmas, it is often difficult to find time to relax with so much to do and think about.

Festive and social commitments, rushing around and last-minute shopping can place a real struggle on the heart.

In December, deaths caused by cardiovascular disease soar by 8%, compared to the second riskier month, November.  More cardiovascular deaths are recorded on Christmas Day than on any other day of the year, followed by Boxing Day and New Years Day.

Stress, family problems and excess consumption of food and drink are among the topmost factors responsible for cardiovascular failures during the Christmastime.  During the Christmas period, it is important to pay particular attention to the types and amounts of food and drink consumed and vitally important not to postpone calling the doctor if you experience any heart attack symptoms.  The change in usual daily routines during Christmas often leads to people forgetting to take prescribed medications, this again can contribute to cardiovascular problems in some cases.

Potential factors that could lead to increased cardiovascular problems during Christmastime:

  • An excess of fatty and sugary food, higher volumes of alcohol, smoking and lack of exercise
  • Putting off calling the doctor rather than spoil the festivities
  • Emotional and financial stress

Recommendations for keeping your heart healthy:

  • Try to eat healthy and limit alcohol intake, try drinking one glass of water for each glass of alcohol – water is filling, has no calories or side effects and will dilute the excess alcohol
  • Keep active – go for a walk after Christmas meals, keep to your regular workout plan or do some other exercises at home
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Avoid family confrontations which may cause stress


Don’t Be Afraid of AED’s!!

Aaaarrrggghhh!!!! What do I do with it ?

All AED’s are user friendly, they will speak to you as soon as you switch them on and guide you through the whole resuscitation process.  Some will even guide you through CPR until the ambulance arrives.

Below is an extract from the most recent AED guidelines from the Resuscitation Council (UK), the full guidelines can be found on their website, along with lots of other useful AED and resuscitation information :

 ‘’It is the view of the Resuscitation Council (UK) that the use of AEDs should NOT be restricted to trained personnel. Furthermore, the Resuscitation Council (UK) considers that it is inappropriate to display notices to the effect that only trained personnel should use the devices, or to restrict their use in other ways. Such restrictions are against the interests of victims of cardiac arrest, and discourage the greater use of AEDs by members of the public who may be able to preserve life and assist victims of cardiac arrest. This confirms similar advice from the British Heart Foundation.’’