Heart Attacks Occur More in the Morning, Experts Say

Oct 09, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- The movies typically show heart attacks taking place over dinner or in the heat of an argument.

Although these scenarios are possible, that’s not normally the case.

Imran Arif, MD, says studies show heart attacks are more likely to occur over the breakfast table or during your morning shower than any other time of day.

“Heart attacks occur more often between 6 a.m. and noon,” says the assistant professor of cardiovascular diseases at the University of Cincinnati. “No one truly knows why, but studies suggest increased sympathetic nervous system tone and elevated cortisol levels during this time can lead to the rupture of cholesterol plaques in coronary arteries ultimately leading to a four fold higher risk of heart attack early in the morning.”

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It is often referred to as the “stress hormone” as it is involved in response to stress.

“Many people are tense before going into work every day, either because of their job or because of their morning routines,” Arif says. “Stress can ultimately lead to heart attacks as well.”

He adds that after sleep, people’s systems and heart rates speed up which could also lead to plaque rupture in the arteries.

Arif urges people to watch for the following warning signs:

-- Chest discomfort
-- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
-- Tightness in the throat
-- Shortness of breath
-- Cold sweats
-- Nausea
-- Lightheadedness

“Call 911 or get to the nearest hospital if you experience signs of a heart attack,” Arif says.

But prevention is the best tactic.

“Know your risk factors, and pay close attention to your cardiovascular health every day,” he says, adding that exercise, a proper diet, management of cholesterol and blood pressure levels and avoiding smoking are keys to preventing heart disease. “A single heart attack can be fatal, no matter what time of day it occurs. Do your best to keep your heart healthy and beating for years to come.”

On the net: www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/heart/faq4.cfm

Provided by University of Cincinnati

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...