Holiday stress sends dozens to the hospital

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The holiday season can be stressful on the body, mind and wallet.  Research shows that more heart problems happen between turkey and tinsel, making it a busy time for cardiologists.

"The holidays bring a lot of stress," explained Tammi Martin, a physician assistant at Hanover Cardiology.

This year, the New Hanover 911 Center fielded almost 30 heart and chest related calls.  Martin says there are three major contributing factors that send people to the hospital:

  1. Most holiday foods are loaded with salt, which boosts your blood pressure and allows fluid to build up.

  2. Heavy drinking during the holidays can send your heart into overdrive.

  3. Cold temperatures put those with heart problems at risk.  Martin says it's important to stay warm because the frosty air can force your blood vessels to shrink.

According to Martin, some people under major holiday pressure can feel like their having chest pain, but it's just stress.  She says you're much more likely to stay out of the hospital if you watch your diet and alcohol consumption, stay bundled up, and call your doctor at the first sign of heart or chest pain.

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