Dec 23, 2014 7:00 AM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

Christmas carols tell us it’s “the most wonderful time of the year.” But for those at risk of heart attack, it could be the most dangerous. 

Each winter, hospitals see a spike in deadly heart attacks right around Christmas and New Year’s. “While it is not entirely clear why this is, researchers suspect triggers, such as high emotional stress and overindulgence in fatty foods and alcohol,” says Frederick Welt, MD, a cardiologist at University of Utah Health.

Watching your intake of salty foods and alcohol is a smart first step. Building physical activity into family gatherings help, but avoid unusually intense exercise. “The incidence of heart attacks during the first snowstorm of the season appears to be linked to usually sedentary people suddenly engaging in intense effort,” Welt says.

This year, keep the holidays merry with these four tips.

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