Christmas Effect: Deaths Spike During Christmas And New Year's Day Due To Holiday Stress

Posted: Dec 23 2016, 7:33am CST | by , Updated: Dec 23 2016, 7:35am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 

Christmas Effect: Deaths Spike due to Holiday Stress
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  • Deaths Spike at Christmas due to Holiday Stress
 

It appears to be the case that high stress levels around Yuletide may cause an increase in heart-related mortality around the Christmas holidays among those prone to the condition .

There does seem to be a link between the winter holiday season and heart-related disease which cause complications and deaths. Yet it is not the chilly weather but strangely the excitement and exhilaration of Christmas and New Year’s Eve that cause this phenomenon, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

In New Zealand, where December and January are actually hot and sweltering summer months, around Yuletide, the rate of deaths due to heart-related diseases is at a peak. 

Thus this Christmas Effect is not linked to any cold weather. Had such been the case, it would not have occurred in New Zealand. There is something about the hassles and hurry, worry and super-scurry of the winter holidays that causes these susceptible individuals to have heart complications.

The debate regarding the exact reasons goes on. There are two samples from the general population which cause this effect. One is a group that is ill and hanging on for the winter holidays. Thus they have been discharged from the hospital and are with their near and dear ones to spend Christmas.  

The risk to these people who are far away from any hospitals is there. The group consists of elderly people who are about to die and would like to spend their last moments with their relatives and family members.

Then there is another group which consists of people who have skipped any treatment for their heart problems in order to be with family members for the Christmas season.

Had they remained at a hospital they may have been spared a fatal end. Yet since they chose to skip the treatment, they eventually fall ill during the holiday season and thus pass away. 

Other explanations abound. Such issues as changes in diet, holiday stress, alcoholism, hospitals lacking doctors and being far away from home may be a few of the factors that add up to cause the mortality rate to spike up.

The study included 25 years of data which was analyzed thoroughly. From 780,000 deaths, 197,000 were heart-related. While the difference is small, more people die over the holidays than at any other time of the year.

There is no cut and dried formula that explains this strange and curious phenomenon. Rich foods and excessive smoking as a part of social gatherings may play its role.

Care is of the essence here. No risks ought to be taken and holiday celebrators ought to remain cautious and keep in touch with their general physicians lest something go wrong.  

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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