FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- While December holidays are all about celebration, the stress associated with them can put women at risk for heart attacks.
Dr. Karla Kurrelmeyer, a cardiologist with Houston Methodist Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Center, said in a Health.com story that the pressure of organizing family gatherings, cooking and shopping can damage hearts.
“We have seen more than a few cases of stress-induced cardiomyopathy around the holidays,’’ Kurrelmeyer said. “This occurs when women are under great amounts of stress for a short period of time and that stress is compounded with another traumatic event, such as a death in the family, a car accident, loss of money, etc. If it is ignored, it can be fatal,” she said in a hospital news release.
Stress-induced cardiomyopathy occurs when stress hormones weaken the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber. The condition is most common among women in their late 50s to mid-70s. Kurrelmeyer said in most cases, it can be treated with beta blockers or ACE inhibitors. An echocardiogram is essential for women who are experiencing symptoms.
Blood pressure also spikes during the holidays for many women. That leads to an increased risk for chest pains, heart palpitations and stroke. Women with a history of high blood pressure require close monitoring when under stress.
Exercise, yoga, walking or running or even meditation can help alleviate stress. Kurrelmeyer said it is especially important during the holidays to take measures to reduce it.
“It’s important to take time for yourself during the holiday season and do things that will help relieve your stress,” Kurrelmeyer said.
People coping with any medical issue during the holidays can visit the Doctors Express Urgent Care at 607 Main Ave. in Norwalk. The facility is open from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Click here for more information about Doctors Express Urgent Care.