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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Caregivers and Seniors Be Alert During Holidays - It's the "Heart Attack Season"

Associated Press writer Lauran Neergaard warns in "Holidays Bring the Heart Attack Season" that December and January are months when the highest number of heart attacks occur. In her article she says people need to beware of overeating rich holiday foods, consuming too much alcohol, being in denial, and shrugging off chest pains as indigestion during festivities. Sometimes people do not wish to interrupt a holiday festivity but it's important to get help quickly if a heart attack is occuring.

The article explains that a 2004 study showed peaks of death from heart attacks occur around Christmas and New Years. Some hospitals say the numbers of heart attacks start rising around Thanksgiving.

Caregivers who are assisting people who are at risk are often the first ones to notice that something is wrong. If any heart attack symptoms occur don't hesitate to call 911 for an ambulance. Elderly people who have Alzheimer's or Dementia may not verbalize or explain how they are feeling but caregivers can observe them for symptoms.

The article has advice for ways people can be safer from a holiday heart attack. Avoid heavy, high fat meals. Travelers need to be sure they have their medication prescriptions filled so they won't run short. Avoid too much salt, which causes fluid retention and makes the heart pump harder. Exercise often falls by the wayside during the colder weather and holidays, but it's important to keep it up. Alcohol consumption needs to be kept to a moderate level.

Seeking treatment quickly is vital if the symptoms of a heart attack occur. During the parties and dinners people need to be sure they are not in denial. If in doubt as to whether it is indigestion or a heart attack get to an emergency room quickly or call 911.

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