Heart attack risk higher at Christmas – symptoms signalling it’s time to ‘call 999’

Heart attack risk higher at Christmas – symptoms signalling it’s time to ‘call 999’

What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?

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A study published in the British Medical Journal looked at the link between national holidays and the risk of heart attacks, with Christmas Eve making it to the top of the list. The elevated risk of a heart attack on Christmas Eve is higher compared to any other holiday. And 10pm in the evening seems to be the peak time for this medical emergency.

A heart attack describes a serious medical emergency when a blood supply to your heart gets suddenly blocked.

This blockage is usually caused by a blood clot.

A lack of blood supply to your heart can lead to serious damage of the muscle and can even be life-threatening, the NHS reports.

That’s why it’s crucial to call 999 if you start experiencing heart attack symptoms.

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These are the main symptoms of a heart attack according to the NHS:

  • Chest pain 
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Overwhelming sense of anxiety 
  • Coughing or wheezing.

The NHS describes the chest pain as a pressure, tightness or squeezing in the centre of your chest.

You might also experience pain in different parts of your body.

The heart attack pain may feel like it’s travelling from your chest to your arms; to the left arm in most cases.

However, any arm can be affected as well as your jaw, neck, back and tummy.

The NHS warns that sometimes patients might not experience any chest pain at all.

This is quite common for women, older people and people with diabetes, according to the health body.

However, in most cases, there is either severe chest pain present or minor pain resembling indigestion.

Indigestion, or heartburn, is a painful burning feeling in your chest.

The NHS explains that the overall symptoms will help you decide whether you’re experiencing a heart attack.

It might be difficult to know for sure if you’re experiencing a heart attack in the moment, so the NHS still encourages getting medical help.

“Do not delay if you feel very unwell or think there’s something seriously wrong, call 999,” the health service reminds.

Once you’ve called the ambulance, you should rest and avoid any unnecessary strain on your heart.

It’s also recommended to chew 300mg of aspirin while you’re waiting for the help to arrive unless you’re allergic.

Aspirin acts as a blood thinner that can improve blood flow to your heart.

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