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How to Check your Heart Health After the Holidays

Table of Contents

This article is Medically Approved by Dr. Edward Salko

Holidays like Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are significant events among American families.

However, as scrumptious the feast may have been, it also comes with several adverse effects for your heart.

In fact, a study shows that the Thanksgiving holiday accounts for a critical weight gain among the college students who participated in the research. The result comes as no surprise considering the tendency of families to overeat during the occasion, not to mention the type of foods consumed. This is supported by the Calorie Control Council who conducted research showing that the average calories consumed during thanksgiving are 3,000 calories.

Christmas eve,  New Year’s eve, and other traditional celebrations are no exception as well. During these festivities, people normally consume dishes that are high in sugar and fats which typically include roasted turkey or beef, mashed potatoes, and pies, not to mention plenty of alcoholic beverages. 

High lipids or fats which include LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are linked to heart disease. Thereby, it is crucial to check on your heart health to avoid complications. 

Look for these symptoms to know if your heart needs attention after the holidays.

1.  Lightheadedness

Feeling dizzy, especially when you stand up quickly, is a common implication of restricted blood flow in the brain. It is also associated with low blood pressure. Frequent lightheadedness may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

2. Chest and shoulder pain

Angina, the pain felt specifically on the left side of your chest, is due to the death of the heart muscle cells. The pain may radiate toward the upper torso including the shoulders. This is a common symptom of an unhealthy heart that requires immediate attention.

3. Sleeping problems

Snoring, insomnia, and sleep apnea are sleeping disorders associated with abnormal breathing. As breathing is directly affected by circulation, these conditions are associated with heart disease, high blood pressure, arrhythmias, and other cardiovascular diseases.

4. Irregular heartbeat

Irregular heartbeat or clinically known as arrhythmia is a condition characterized by the unusual rhythm of blood pumping or circulation. Arrhythmias can be observed among older people. High blood pressure and coronary heart disease are also linked with arrhythmias.

5. Swollen arms and legs

The irregular blood flow towards and away from the heart may cause swelling in the arms and legs. If the condition is not addressed, it could lead to blood clots that disrupt the functions of the heart.

Monitoring your Post-Holiday Heart Health

Holidays typically give us a pass to eat and be merry. And many people take advantage of the celebrations to overindulge and give in to the delectable temptations. This is why a heart health check is imperative after the holidays. 

Naturally, an essential step to monitoring heart health is checking the levels of your blood lipids. To check your heart health, you can take the following tests:

1.       Lipid Panel Blood Test – This test measures your total, LDL, and HDL blood cholesterol as well as your triglycerides.

2.      Cardiac CRP Blood Test – The C-reactive protein (CRP) is used to evaluate your risk of cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease.

Regardless if it was after a holiday or any time of the year, these tests are recommended for those who have a family history of cardiovascular disease and those who evidently have an unhealthy lifestyle. 

If you experience the aforementioned symptoms frequently, it is best to consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Conclusion

The aftermath of a holiday celebration may not be as pleasant as the feast you had if you don’t take control of your heart health. It is time to listen to your heart and be sensitive to the symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

Heart health requires regular monitoring since life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other cardiovascular diseases may occur without warning. Take the necessary tests so you can secure the right preventive measures or treatment. 

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