The Holidays Are A Risk Factor For Death

The American Heart Association says that the Holidays are a risk factor for death.

Cardiac Mortality Is Higher Around Christmas and New Year’s Than at Any Other Time, The Holidays as a Risk Factor for Death, Circulation, December 2004

Our findings suggest that the Christmas/New Year’s holidays are a risk factor for cardiac and noncardiac mortality. … The excess in holiday mortality is growing proportionately larger over time, both for cardiac and noncardiac mortality.

More cardiac deaths occur on December 25 than on any other day of the year; the second largest number of cardiac deaths occurs on December 26, and the third largest number occurs on January 1.

Figure 2. Daily US cardiac deaths, 1979 –2001, for [dead on arrival / emergency department /outpatients] . Solid line indicates the observed number of deaths for each day of the year, summed over the study period. Dotted regression line indicates the expected number of deaths for each day, given seasonal fluctuations and the null hypothesis that mortality is unaffected by the holidays.

The epidemiological data used in this article are appropriate for examining a large (>53 million), nationwide, multiyear dataset and for demonstrating the existence of a previously unknown double spike in cardiac and noncardiac mortality; however, our data are not appropriate for definitively identifying the detailed causes of this double spike.

Why do you think more people die on December 25th, December 26th, and January 1st?

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