Don't Make Our Ho Ho Hos Into High High Hypertension This Season

It maybe my futile attempt for a joke for this holiday season but this is actually a serious wake up call for something that can affect you and me especially this festive season. As we continue to celebrate the this holiday, we make it sure to have a bountiful table for everyone, which we consider to manifest a plentiful future ahead of us.

And most of us have kept this tradition, as we reward ourselves and our family from the hard work that we put this this year. And another reason to celebrate is because of the challenges we faced, and still facing during this pandemic. It's not really bad to reward ourselves, however we should consider our health more than ever during these days.

Along with the virus problem we should also take into consideration other diseases that can contract due to our lifestyle in the new normal. We have become more sedentary with our set up of working and studying from home. We now eat more as we stock up on supplies and snacks. There has been an increase of weight gain with many people due to this predicament. Thus the risks of hypertension and heart disease are also increasing rapidly.

“That is because while the holidays are a time for merriment and indulgence, it has also been linked to a high incidence of heart attacks, stroke, and rising blood pressure, leading to the phenomenon called ‘Holiday Heart Syndrome,” said Dr. Amal Makhloufi Benchouk, The Country Lead of Sanofi Philippines.  

But what is it about the most joyous time of the year that causes this unfortunate spike in cardiovascular-related health concerns and how do we avoid it?


“During the holiday season, many of us tend to overindulge or consume food excessively. Unfortunately, a significant amount of these may be high in sodium content,” Amal forewarns. 

Why is this a problem? For some people, eating too much salty food may cause their blood pressure to rise. However, this shouldn’t deter you from indulging during the holidays, but just learning to be mindful of what you eat and avoiding excess salt can help minimize the risk for heart problems.

Frequent binge-drinking

With holiday get-togethers come frequent social drinking. Just like the overindulgence of food, the festive season is often marked by the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. 

“The danger of binge-drinking as frequently as we do during the holidays is that it can lead to atrial fibrillation which is characterized by an abnormal heart rhythm that may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure,” she warns.

Festive fatigue

The holidays bring with it added excitement and fatigue. For some, this can mean going from one party to another, night after night, until the wee hours of the day, leading to very little sleep which adds extra stress on their hearts. Combined with binge-drinking and overindulging, and one can be very susceptible to an unhealthy mix of triggering factors. “That is why moderation is key, especially when it comes to indulging in salty foods, alcoholic beverages, or knowing when to call it a night,” the Sanofi country lead explains.

Know the risks

Going into the holidays, it is definitely crucial to be aware of any potential risk factors or pre-existing conditions that can affect your health. If you are currently overweight and/or a heavy smoker or have a history with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease then you or your family may be at a higher risk of experiencing heart problems, so it is best to be mindful of your health and keep watch of your holiday activities.

When should you get help

In the event that you start feeling symptoms such as chest pains, you should already start calling for help. Don’t forgo treatment just because you don’t want to spoil the holiday mood. It’s always better to be on the safe side when it comes to your health.

“The greatest gift that you can give to your family is the gift of health so we must encourage everyone to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” Amal intimated. “This is why we continue to educate Filipino families to have a better understanding of the disease, beyond the medicine, to empower every single person for self-monitoring and the improvement of their lifestyle. This is our commitment to building a healthier Philippines."

As we enter a new year and hope for the pandemic to be over, we also look forward to keep our bodies healthier against other illness that is born out our lifestyle. It would be unfortunate that we might not contract COVID-19 but suffer with cardiovascular-related risks which are also deadly. We must also seek help from professionals to check our bodies and make sure that we are living right for our sake, our families and friends.

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