SSM Health Medical Minute: Heart attacks more common during the holidays

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, but you want to make sure this holiday season is not your last. As temperatures start to fall, your risk of heart attack begins to climb. A British study showed that for every one degree drop in temperatures, doctors see about 100 more heart attacks.

SLUCare/SSM Health Heart Surgeon, Dr. Richard Lee, sees an increase in heart attack patients every winter. “With the cold weather your body tends to try to stay warmer and your blood vessels constrict and it raise your blood pressure and that can lead to a heart attack.” Also exertion like shoveling snow increases the heart’s demand for oxygen. “Many people don't know they have heart disease what will happen is either they don't have symptoms or they just haven't had a rupture a plaque that hasn’t gotten serious enough yet and it that one extra exertion that actually gives them the heart attack.”

Dr. Lee says if you are at risk for heart disease because of a family history or you are a male over 50, make sure you get a cardiac screening.

To find out more about Dr. Richard Lee, click here.