Daylight Saving Time Increases Risk of Heart Attack

Springing forward allows us to enjoy more daylight hours in the evening, but this annual practice also increases the risk of heart attack in the first few days immediately following the time change. Approximately one-quarter of the Earth’s population follows this shift in time twice a year.

Daylight Saving Time for residents of most parts of the United States and Canada starts at 2:00 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March. The clock “falls back” on the first Sunday in November at 2:00 a.m. local time. Residents of Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

In the European Union, Summer Time starts at 1:00 a.m. (Greenwich Mean Time) on the last Sunday in March. The switch to Standard Time takes place at 1:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in October.

Heart Attack Rates Go Up When Clock Springs Forward

According to results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, incidents of acute myocardial infarction increase during the first three business days immediately following the switch to Daylight Saving Time. Women are slightly more likely to experience a heart attack during this time than men.

People are most likely to have a heart attack on the Monday immediately following the switch. This may be linked to the stress associated with returning to work after the weekend, but the more likely cause is the loss of one hour of rest due to the time change.

Many people are chronically sleep-deprived. To try to stay on top of our To Do lists, we don’t get the recommended eight or nine hours of sleep a night. People who don’t get adequate rest are more likely to be overweight or obese, develop diabetes or nighttime high blood pressure.

Losing a single hour of sleep once is not likely to trigger a heart attack on its own, but when a person who is already vulnerable to this type of incident loses an hour of rest, it can be enough to do so. It’s important to know the warning signs of heart attack and get medical attention for them. To lower this risk around the time when the clock is moved forward or back, it’s important to establish a good bedtime routine that includes going to bed at the same time every night.

Getting a good night’s sleep is an important factor in being able to function well during the day. Skimping on rest interferes with the ability to learn and concentrate, as well as has a negative effect on your health. Start treating it as something that is essential to your survival, whether the clock is springing forward or falling back.

Anxiety Disorder May Increase Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), a psychological disorder characterized by excessive worry about everyday events. People living with it experience a level of discomfort that is out of proportion for the cause of concern. If you have been diagnosed with GAD, you are in good company; over six million people in the United States have it. You also may be at a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.

Patients with stable Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), where the symptoms of chest pain are relieved within 10 minutes with rest and/or medications, and GAD are more likely to have a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or a stroke.

Why are anxiety disorders and cardiovascular disease related? People with anxiety issues are less likely to be taking good care of themselves. They are less likely to be eating or sleeping well, and they are more likely to be smokers. Individuals with anxiety issues are also less likely to be exercising regularly. All of these factors increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease.

blood pressure measurement Stress also plays a role in a person’s risk of developing heart disease, and someone living with GAD is experiencing a higher level of stress than a person who doesn’t have the disorder. As a result, he or she may have higher blood pressure, as well as an increased heart rate. Both of these factors contribute to heart issues.

For study conducted by the San Francisco VA Medical Center, researchers decided to focus on 1,015 participants who had been diagnosed with CAD for over five years. The study subjects underwent psychological testing to determine whether they had GAD.

The results of the study fond that 9.6 of the study subjects who had GAD had a cardiac event, compared with 6.6 of the participants who did not have this psychological issue. GAD can be treated with anti-anxiety medications and psychotherapy. If you suspect that you have an anxiety disorder or are concerned about a loved one, see your family doctor for a referral to a professional who can provide a diagnosis and suggest at treatment plan.