Christmas Deadliest Day of Year

Study: Christmas deadliest day for Americans (CNN-Reuters)

Christmas is the deadliest day of the year for Americans with 12.4 percent more deaths than normal, researchers said on Monday. More Americans die from heart attacks and other natural causes on Christmas, the day after and on New Year’s Day than on any other days of the year, the researchers reported. It is probably because people are feeling too busy or too festive to go to the hospital over the winter holiday season, the researchers wrote in Monday’s issue of the journal Circulation.

The researchers, sociologist David Phillips of the University of California San Diego and colleagues there and at Tufts University in Boston, found a 4.65 percent increase in heart deaths and just shy of a 5 percent increase in non-heart deaths over the 14 days spanning the December holidays.
They did not count deaths from suicide, murder or accidents and took into account the perilous effects of a cold snap on health. “We found that there is a general tendency for cardiac and noncardiac deaths to peak during the winter, but above and beyond this seasonal increase, there are additional increases in heart attack and other deaths around Christmas and New Year’s,” Phillips said in a statement.

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The report fits in with a study published in March that found heart attack patients sent to hospitals during the winter holidays are more likely to die than those admitted during the rest of the year. Clinics, emergency rooms and other health facilities do not operate at top efficiency over the holiday period, said Dr. Trip Meine, a cardiologist at Duke University in North Carolina, who led the study released at an American college of Cardiology meeting.

Yikes.

Update (0925): In related news. . .

Office deadlines six times more likely to kill you! (Health India)

People under pressure to meet deadlines are six times more likely to suffer from a heart attack, a new research reveals.According to the Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Programme intense, pressure seems to have a greater impact on the heart than accumulated stress over a period of 12 months. The researchers observed over 3,500 people, monitored the number of first heart attacks in healthy people aged between 45 and 70 and found that work stress featured heavily in the risk of a heart attack. A high pressure deadline enhances the risk of a heart attack within the next 24 hours by a factor of six. Being put in a competitive situation at work doubled the risk and being praised by the boss more than doubled the risk. The researchers, however, suggested that this is probably associated with meeting a pressurised deadline.

The study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reveals that 80 percent of men are more likely to have a heart attack if they experience conflict at work within the preceding 12 months. The risk further increases if they felt strongly affected by it. For women, a change in financial circumstances tripled their risk. Women were also three times as likely, and men six times as likely to have a heart attack if they had taken on increased responsibilities at work, particularly when these were viewed negatively.

It’s a wonder that Santa Claus isn’t dead, what with his spike in work-related stress during the Christmas season.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.