The link between holidays and heart attacks has been suspected for many years.

A recent study published in the medical journal, Circulation, by the University of California San Diego and Tufts University found a five percent higher rate of heart attacks during the holiday season than at any other time of the year.

This close link between heart attacks and the holiday season has caused health experts to recommend a number of heart healthy tips for the holiday season.

Dress For the Cold and Snow

Frigid winter weather can contribute to how hard your heart must work when engaging in activities in the outdoors.

Dress appropriately for the outdoors, including hat, gloves and a scarf to go over the face to prevent breathing in the icy air.

Avoid Interpersonal Conflicts

The holidays can cause emotional stress in the form of conflicts with other family members.

If necessary, stay away from those with whom you often have conflicts. Refuse to engage in arguments. Instead, spend your time with more agreeable family members.

Get Assistance With Shoveling

Heavy snowfall can mean rigorous activity clearing sidewalks and stairways of snow.

If you are overweight or have breathing problems, get assistance with shoveling from family members or neighbors to prevent putting additional stress on your heart.

If necessary, hire a service to do it for you to prevent taxing your heart.

Avoid Overeating

The holidays bring a bounty of delicious goodies to tempt your taste buds.

Avoid the inclination to stuff yourself at the table, and enjoy the extra holiday treats in moderation. This measure will help to avoid raising blood sugar that can contribute to heart attack and stroke.

You can have a small taste of everything while still preventing that overstuffed feeling that can make your heart work harder.

Keep Alcohol Consumption Moderate

Holiday parties and family events can mean overconsumption of alcoholic beverages. These drinks can raise blood pressure and cause additional stress on the heart. \

Pace your alcohol consumption throughout the day, alternating with water or soft drinks to prevent high blood alcohol concentrations that can put additional stress on the heart.

Get Some Fresh Air

Indoor air can be full of particulate matter that is unhealthy to breathe and could affect your heart. Smoke from fireplaces, indoor cigarette smoking and holiday incense can cause labored breathing and poor heart function.

Open the windows periodically to let in fresh air or get outside on the front porch so that you can take in a bit of cleaner air.

Get Help If You Feel Unwell

The researchers suggest that many people don’t seek out medical help when they feel unwell during the holiday season, for fear of ruining the festivities for family and friends.

This delay in getting help can be a significant factor in the rise in heart attack incidents during the holiday season.

If a family member or friend appears to be feeling sick, has trouble breathing or is in physical distress of any kind, call for emergency medical help immediately.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry.