SATURDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Holiday stress can increase
some people's risk for heart problems, including heart attack,
according to an expert.
"Stress and its many forms -- be it emotional, financial or physical -- can put undue pressure on your heart during a time that should be happy and joyous," Dr. Nasser Lakkis, chief of cardiology at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, said in a Harris Health System news release.
"People don't always understand that stress can be in anything you do," said Lakkis, who also is a professor at Baylor College of Medicine. "It's all in how you deal with things. If you know that a family gathering is going to be stressful, just say no to the conflict. Holidays should be fun and enjoyable. Family disputes or disagreements should be put off for later when the time is right."
There are many things you can do to reduce and control holiday
stress, he noted, including:
- Try to enjoy family get-togethers and take them in stride.
- If you're alone, contact friends or offer to do volunteer
- If finances are an issue, set and stick to a budget.
- Feel free to say no to things you just can't do.
- Keep your holiday expectations realistic to avoid
- Plan some activities but don't dwell on things that go
- Limit your alcohol and tobacco consumption.
In addition to stress, the holidays also are a time when many
people become complacent about their health, Lakkis noted. They
stop following healthy habits such as getting regular exercise and
eating well, and might skip taking prescription medicines. Some
people may even delay seeing a doctor even if they have signs of
"Don't," Lakkis warned. "The greatest gift you could give your family and yourself is a healthy you, but it involves being responsible for yourself."
The American Heart Association has more about
managing holiday stress.