It's true that researchers have discovered a spike in heart attacks during winter and particularly during the holidays—peaking on Christmas and New Year's. No one is sure why. Cold weather is a known trigger for heart attacks, as arteries constrict more easily and blood clots form more readily when the temperature dips. But there are other factors at play. People might be more likely to ignore heart attack symptoms during festivities, for instance. Overexertion from snow shoveling can put too much stress on older hearts. Emotional stress—not uncommon during the holidays—may contribute, too. Finally, binge drinking can cause abnormal heart rhythms, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
To help prevent a "holiday heart attack," avoid emotional stress and strenuous or excessive physical activity. Limit your alcohol intake, and try to eat healthy, small portions. Remember, the best way to avoid heart issues is to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and routinely see your doctor.
If you have chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack, have someone call 911 right away. Don't delay.