We all have this romantic wish for the holidays. It’s time to relax with family and enjoy their company, reconnect with grown children, delight in the grandchildren. But the reality is December is the deadliest month of the year. Holidays are full of physical stresses but also emotional distresses.

You undoubtedly know heart disease in the single leading cause of death for both men and women in America. Close to a million of us will have a heart attack this year. And about one person every minute will die. It’s alarming to note that the number of heart-related deaths jump by 5% between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. That’s 1500 more people during every day of that week. Last Christmas Day [2008] had the single highest number of cardiac deaths during the entire year. December 26th was second, and New Year’s Day was third.


It’s supposed to be a very joyous time. You’d think we should all be happy at this time – and we are. At the same time, we have very high expectation, which puts additional stress, particularly, on women. Because in addition to all the other things we’re doing, we’re cooking, shopping and wrapping, and we want everything to be perfect so that’s incredibly stressful.

Three things we can do.

  1. Avoid alcohol. In my life, that goes without saying.
  2. Manage our emotional health and well being. Be aware of too-high expectations and the let down after holidays.
  3. Avoid high fat meals. Do you realize a single high fat meal – whether it’s accompanied with the eggnog or pecan pie – can affect our arteries from six to twelve hours after that meal? And if we’re extremely stressed on top of it, it’s a heart attack waiting to happen.

Dr. Oz, with all his experience, information and energy, just wants to get that word out to everyone. Although he is one of the world’s foremost cardiac surgeons, he’d just as soon not operate on any of us over the holidays this year!

Now, go enjoy the next two weeks!