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Do More People Have Heart Attacks on Mondays?

Chest pain and pressure may be a sign of a heart attack.
The anatomy of a heart attack.
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  • Written By: O. Wallace
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 April 2014
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There may be something more to the stress and anxiety many of us feel come Monday morning — giving us just one more reason to stay in bed for a three day weekend. A 2005 study that was conducted by Japan's Tokyo Women's Medical University found one of the main causes of more heart attacks — blood pressure — was consistently higher in study volunteers on Monday than any other day of the week. An older study confirmed that indeed, more people suffer heart attacks on Mondays — 20% more than on the other six days.

Two groups of participants were monitored, and those who went to work on Monday morning showed the highest spike or change in their blood pressure, while others who did not have to work that day remained the same. While many of us realize that returning to work can be moderately stressful, the fact that there are more heart attacks on Mondays bears examination. Another study found that simply commuting to work can cause additional stress, raising blood pressure and putting returning workers at additional risk of heart attacks on Mondays. Anyone who has sat in Monday morning traffic on the way to work can agree that it is most definitely stress inducing. Some may find that adjusting from weekend mode to work mode too difficult, resulting in stress and anxiety.

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While researchers claim that the study was too small to conclusively determine if the spike in blood pressure is due to the return to work on Monday, or is due to some other factor, it seems logical that the stress of returning to work contributes to more heart attacks on Mondays. Unfortunately, this assumption doesn’t explain why the day that comes in second with the most heart attacks is Saturday. Another interesting statistic shows heart attacks typically occur from 4am to 10am due to the increased adrenaline that the adrenal glands release in the morning. This additional adrenaline may lead to the rupture of the plaque in the arteries caused by cholesterol.

With more than a million Americans suffering heart attacks each year, the medical field is constantly searching for an answer as to why there are more heart attacks on Monday. Hopefully one day researchers can find a more conclusive reason as to the reason in order to devise preventative programs to reduce the numbers of heart attacks on Mondays.

In the meantime, workers can try to reduce the anxiety they feel on Mondays by getting enough sleep Sunday night, starting the day with a good breakfast, using relaxation techniques to get into the right mindset, avoiding traffic by carpooling or taking public transportation, or better yet, taking Monday off altogether! Other lifestyle changes such as a proper diet and exercise can help reduce the risk of heart attack. If you find that your job is a huge source of stress, try to find a way to reduce Monday morning stress, or find a job that is less of a strain on your health.

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