Heart attack: Experts claim a vegan diet can 'help prevent' them
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A heart attack is a medical emergency that occurs when part of the heart suddenly becomes deprived of oxygen. This often happens when the artery leading to the organ is obstructed and blood flow is cut off abruptly, causing the organ to falter. Some of the first symptoms include chest pain that can radiate down the back and left arm. According to one study, the risk of suffering a heart attack could grow significantly in the week following daylight saving time.
Daylight saving time is a one-hour clock adjustment that allows the morning light to break through later and sunlight to remain for an extra hour at the end of the day.
Surveys have shown respondents feel unwell in the days that follow the clock change, and studies have suggested there may be health benefits to omitting the clock change altogether.
A body of research from New York, presented at the American Health Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2018, reported a surge in hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation during daylight saving time.
The findings also revealed that the Monday following the clock change in Spring was associated with a 24 percent increase in daily heart attacks.
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Conversely, the Tuesday following the clock change in Autumn was associated with a 21 percent reduction in heart attack rates.
The American Heart Association President Donald M. Loyd-Jones, said: “We don’t really know the specific reason for increases in heart disease and stroke during the daylight saving time change.
“[…] It likely has something to do with the disruption to the body’s internal clock, or its circadian rhythm.
“If you are already at risk for cardiovascular disease, the time change could be even more risky.
“It’s important to work on improving your health risk factors all year long, and there are some specific steps you can take to prepare for the impact of ‘springing forward’ each spring.”
The findings are consistent with those of a Finnish study, which found stroke rates increased by eight percent within the days that followed the clock change.
The human body’s circadian rhythm dictates when the body wakes up and dozes off every day, but it may also play a key role in other biological functions too.
Research has shown it may control the sleep-wake cycle, other metabolic processes, hormone secretion and body temperature.
Minor disturbances to our circadian rhythm caused by the clock change may also increase blood pressure.
The 2014 study, led by the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Centre, was unable to determine which factors drove the increase in heart attacks.
But previous studies have linked poor or insufficient sleep with heart disease, as this can cause blood pressure to stay elevated for longer periods of time.
Blood pressure is a known precursor for having a heart attack and usually damages the body for years before producing symptoms.
How to adjust your sleep pattern
Preparing the days leading up to the clock change may enable a smoother transition, according to experts.
Going to bed earlier could help make up for the hours of lost sleep, and avoid unsettling the internal clock.
The Sleep Foundation stressed the importance of obtaining quality sleep in the nights leading up to the change.
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