Since sociologist David P. Phillips identified the spike that heart-related deaths had in the United States, it was believed that cold weather was the reason for this phenomenon. However, new investigations made by the American Heart Association prove that weather conditions are not directly related to heart diseases during the holidays.
After the first investigations made by Dr. Phillips, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the anomaly with exhaustive studies and proved that, in fact, the most likely time of the year for any person to die of natural causes is the period between December 24th and January first.
In all that time, the scientific community had proposed several theories that try to explain why this death peak occurs. Among all the speculation, it was thought that this particular time of year, with all the stress, the different diets, and the alcohol consumption might be the reason for the cardiac problems to start appearing. However, the theory that always had more strength and that was broadly accepted by scientists was the weather influence.
Depending on the low temperature presented in a defined area, the more vulnerable the people in that place are regarding heart diseases, flu or other illnesses. Even when the logic points to that direction, a new research might prove that this theory is likely to be mistaken.
The investigation from the American Heart Association
The new study published in the weekly Journal of the American Heart Association suggest that cold weather has nothing to do when it comes to explaining the spike in heart-related deaths during the holiday season.
To obtain the results, the investigators started analyzing data from the New Zealand heart disease records since the year 1988 until 2013. In this 25-year period, there were registers of over 197,000 deaths related to heart conditions and cardiac problems.
The investigation shows how in New Zealand, a country where the holiday season comes during summer, there was a similar phenomenon that the one registered in the United States. The study proves a 4.2 percent rise regarding cardiac deaths during the period between December 24th and January 7th. Also, in the study was specified how the average age of a heart-related death was 77.1 years in normal conditions while in the Christmas season, that average went to 76.2
Josh Knight, the study author and research fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia, explained how the fact of people traveling during Christmas season might affect the mortality regarding cardiac problems. The reason, he said, is that people are far away from their usual medical centers and often leave their health regime in standby.
“This could contribute to delays in both seeking treatment, due to a lack of familiarity with nearby medical facilities, and due to geographic isolation from appropriate medical care in emergency situations,” said Dr. Knight while trying to explain the reason for this anomaly.
Even when the study didn’t focus on the reasons for explaining this phenomenon, the fact that heart-related deaths also rise in a place where there is island climate automatically denies the possibility of extreme temperature affecting the cardiac conditions of people during the holidays.
Source: Science Daily