A new study from Sweden has found the risk of having a heart attack rises nearly 40 percent on Christmas Eve. Cardiologist Dr. Frank Smart at LSU Health New Orleans said the research shows that coupled with the cold weather of the winter months which causes arteries to spasm, emotions and other influences can make a cardiovascular impact.

"Sadness and stress and a number of other stress-related factors with trying to hurry to get something done and get someplace or see family," said Smart.

The study observed the timing of 283,000 heart attacks over 15 years. Smart said the research indicates that the peak timing of heart attacks on Christmas Eve is around 10 pm, but say it usually isn’t caused by overeating for a few days.

"It's typically years of eating bad that get to you, not a day or two days," said

Smart recommended that if someone suspects they are having a heart attack, the earlier they get to the hospital, the better, but they should not drive themselves to the hospital.

"If you call 911, they can usually transmit an EKG, they will know about it before you even get there and have the team actually in place waiting for you," said Smart.

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