Why Thanksgiving Dinner Could Put Some At Risk For A Heart Attack

Thanksgiving dinner
By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and food.

But for some people, WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites reports, eating the wrong foods can increase the risk for a heart attack.

People with known heart disease who eat a large meal with foods high in salt and fat can trigger a cardiac event, according to Dr. Zaher Hakim, a cardiologist at the Detroit Medical Center's Heart Hospital.

"As you know, heart disease patients, they need to eat a low salt diet and law fat, and during the holiday season, especially the Thanksgiving dinner, is very fat rich with fatty (foods)...and they don't pay attention to how much they eat," Hakim said "So, a large, big meal can be stressful to the heart, as well as a high salt intake, and all of that together can increase the chances of a heart attack or heart failure exacerbation."

To decrease the risk of a heart attack on Thanksgiving, Dr. Hakim advises heart patients not to overindulge in food or drink alcohol excessively, and to stick as closes as possible to their regular healthy eating plans.

"Watch your portion size. They cannot eat a huge meal without paying attention; they cannot eat like other people," he said. 

Hakim warns that at-risk patients who aren't careful could end up in the hospital. 

"We have noticed that during the holiday season -- especially Thanksgiving and Christmas there is an increased admission of heart attack and heart failure exacerbation to our emergency department."

Also, it's a good idea to try to avoid stress, if possible.