Overeating And Your Heart

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There are many Thanksgiving traditions out there.
But doctors say adding more fat and calories should not be one of them.
Medical reporter Jessa Goddard is covering east Tennessee health with information about what can happen when you eat too much of a good thing.
You've probably been looking forward to eating, or overeating, Thanksgiving dinner all week.
While overeating is never a good idea, most of us can get away with it a few times a year.
But for some people, it can actually be dangerous.
For most of us, the worst a second helping of mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie can do is put on some extra pounds.
But for people at risk for a heart attack, those are people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smokers, diabetics and anyone over 50, overeating or having a heavy meal can trigger complications.
Dr. Charles Dhyanchand with UT Family Practice says, "when you have a large meal that consists of a lot of fats, it affects the lining of the arteries, so that a clot can form on the lining and cause a blockage."
Not to mention, eating, in general, increases the blood level of norepinephrine which is a hormone that acutely raises blood pressure and pulse rate.
Dhyanchand says the risk is quite significant.
"If you have a risk for heart problems, you could potentially raise the chance of having a heart attack by four times, by having a large meal."
Researchers define the "hazard period" as two hours after the meal, but say a heart attack can occur at various other times, even up to 26 hours later.
They say according to their findings, overeating should now be considered a heart attack trigger.
But if you are at risk, you don't have to deprive yourself entirely... Just adjust how you partake in your thanksgiving dinner.
Dhyanchann continues, "if you're at high risk, it would be advisable to eat more in moderation... Smaller meals throughout the day would be safer than one large meal."
Doctor Dhyanchand also recommends you drink plenty of water throughout the day and suggests you take an aspirin to prevent any potential blood clotting.
But the message here holds true every day, not just thanksgiving day.
People at risk for heart attack need to consider not only their daily calorie intake, but the size of their individual meals, as well.