TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A warning from doctors this holiday season -- pay attention to your stress levels because it could affect your heart health.
According to the American Heart Association, more people die of heart attacks this time of year.
Researchers said there are many contributing factors including elevated family stress, a change in diet or unrealistic expectations of yourself.
One Tucson doctor said just because it's Christmas, you shouldn't ignore the warning signs.
The holidays are prime time for heart problems.
"A lot of arguments happen around the holidays right? Or, if you get a big surprise like someone gets a big Christmas surprise," said Dr. Joseph Chambers, with Carondelet Medical Group. "Along with that, there's a big hormone surge and a number of patients show up around Christmas with heart failure."
To reduce the strain on your heart, Chambers advises you identify the cause of your stress.
"If you know what the triggers are, try to avoid them and they're different for different people," he said.
Also, look out for yummy holiday treats.
"When we overeat, it makes it easier for the adrenaline and the bad hormones, stress hormone levels, to rise," Chambers said.
His biggest tip? Get moving.
"Go for a walk over the holidays," Chambers said. "It's not all about opening the packages. Get together with your family and go on a hike."
Chambers warns if you feel something is wrong, don't wait to see the doctor.
"If there's chest discomfort, shortness of breath, if there's windedness with routine activities that one had previously been able to do without any limits, any time there's a change that's something that really should not wait," he said.
For more heart healthy tips, go HERE.