Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Health Alert (Research, Older Adult Video 3:57)

Christmas and Independence Day are associated with increased heart failure emergency admissions immediately following these holidays. Older adults are taken to the hospital the most during these times. During the winter months, these emergencies actually peak around the holiday season. Major sporting events and intense encounters also play a role.

This information is the result of research involving patients with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure at the Einstein Medical Center over a 10-year period between January 1 and December 31. Comparisons were made between the rates of heart failure admissions on the holiday, 4 days following the holiday and the rest of the month for 5 specific days: Christmas day, New Year's day, Independence day, Thanksgiving day and Super Bowl Sunday.

The study included 22,727 heart failure admissions. Results indicated a significant increase in daily heart failure admissions following Independence day and Christmas day when compared to the rest of the month. All holidays apart from Super Bowl Sunday demonstrated lower admission rates on the holiday compared to the rest of the month.

What are some factors that could cause these findings?
1)    Overeating on holidays
2)    Emotional stressors
3)    Less exercise
4)    Postponed medical appointments due to the holidays

Seriously, who wants to experience an emergency room visit during or after the holidays? Caregivers near and far should be especially vigilant in evaluating the health of older adults during the holidays. On Good Morning Maryland @ 9, Dr. Alicia Arbaje from Johns Hopkins' School of Medicine explains details of maintaining healthy holidays for older adults.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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