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Holidays can be hard on the old ticker

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

 If you have a big Thanksgiving meal planned for Thursday, go easy on the food.

If you have heart problems, the risk of a heart attack goes up dramatically if you eat too much on Turkey Day.

 It was long thought to be a myth that eating too much on Thanksgiving could cause a heart attack but research from the American Heart Association shows otherwise.

The typical Thanksgiving meal can be packed loads of carbohydrates, and if your heart is not in tip-top shape or you're suffering from the early stages of heart disease you can quadruple your chances of a heart attack after downing a big meal.

It all has to do with blood flow to the heart which can be restricted during digestion. if you have plaque in the arteries of the heart and rob or steal by eating a very large or heavy or other factors, you also place the heart and the cardiovascular system under enormous stress.

Now a few things that can make your Thanksgiving meal experience a little safer-- eat slowly, also eat small portions, as hard as it may to pass up on the pumpkin pie, skip dessert and limit alcohol.

And it's not just Thanksgiving dinner than can pose a threat to heart health, but the holidays in general.

It's also a good idea to go easy on the salt and a lot of folks are known to forgo their medication with the hustle and bustle Thanksgiving can bring that is also not recommended.

"I think the stress of Holidays in conjunction with eating very large, fatty meals may produce an increased risk of heart attacks during the holiday. While personally I might not see that, I think nationwide it is something that is recognized," said Phoebe Putney Chief of Staff  Dr. Steven Wolinksy.

In fact the American Heart Association said that your chance of a heart attack quadrupled two hours after consuming a large meal. Research has shown that December and January have a high number of heart related deaths.

Doctors also recommend going easy on the alcohol while eating heavy meals as that can add to stress on the heart.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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