A recent study revealed that the risk of heart attack spikes on Christmas Eve. Specifically, it goes up by 40% at 10pm that evening. Dr. Nick Burke joined Roshini Rajkumar on WCCO Radio this week and explained why. Burke noted that it is mostly due to the stress of the holidays. Holidays can be happy stress or unhappy stress. Listen for full explanation
Dr. Burke & Roshini also discussed heart attacks in men versus women. Heart disease is the #1 killer in men and women. It is a vastly bigger health problem than cancer. Women wait longer to seek care when they have symptoms. Women have atypical symptoms, but the main symptom is chest discomfort. Burke said, “Time is muscle or Time is brain – every minute counts! The faster you can get effective treatment is better. Time for treatment (i.e. ambulance arrives or hospital arrival) is similar in men and women, but the time from symptom onset to first medical contact was longer for women. There is also a societal issue: women put themselves last. This has to change.”
Lastly, they discussed prevention of heart disease. Know your risks: your personal risk should be discussed with your primary care physician. “You can lower your risk: First and foremost – don’t smoke! The #1 reversible risk factor. It is far and away the most easily modifiable risk factor. Secondly, if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and/or a strong family history, get that treated. It’s not just numbers. By treating it, we decrease your risk of heart attack or a stroke. It actually saves lives!” Dr. Burke recommended.
If you have no symptoms, but would like to still take preventative measures, you can get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and discuss family history with a physician. If any of that is high, treat it. You can also get a HeartScan Minnesota to determine the amount of calcified plaque in your arteries to get your calcium score relative to other people your age/demographic.
Listen to the full interview online to hear all of Dr. Burke’s insights.