Holidays and Heart Trouble: The Downer Look at Xmas

There’s always one downer person who can find bad news in the best of occasions, and this year it’s SportsGeezer, dredging up a four-year-old study published in Congestive Heart Failure, and showing that visits to hospitals for heart failure increased by 33 percent during the four days after Christmas. He can also find another 2004 study published in Circulation showing that heart-related deaths increase by nearly 5 percent during the holidays. Why? Holiday’s are fun, but they’re also stressful. And when you add in the hazards of a white Christmas, there’s more, or, as the grinch sees it, less: When researchers at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada reviewed the records of 500 patients with heart problems over two winter seasons, the found that seven percent started experiencing heart symptoms while shoveling snow. The bright side? That’s the part of the holidays that doesn’t require study.

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