Swedish hearts fail on Mondays and at Christmas

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Swedish hearts fail on Mondays and at Christmas
Tell me why I don't like Mondays. Photo: Marcus Lindblad/SvD/TT

Swedes are most likely to suffer heart attacks on Mondays and at Christmas, new research suggests.


A Swedish research group that examined data on 150,000 domestic heart attacks noted that the coronary risk was 11 percent higher than normal on Mondays. 

While this was in line with long-standing international findings, statistics for July set Sweden apart. The heart-attack risk dipped by eight percent, suggesting that Swedes’ tendency to take all of July off work might not be a bad idea.

“The fact that fewer people get sick in July has not previously been seen in other countries. Perhaps Swedes alone link the summer holidays to a protective effect,” John Wallert, a psychologist and researcher at Uppsala University, told newspaper Dagens Medicin. 

Stress has long been viewed as a heart attack trigger, so it’s maybe no surprise that Christmas brings with it a spike in cardiac arrests. Figures show a seven-percent higher risk over the Yuletide period. 

“One interesting aspect was that the increased heart attack risk at the Christmas applied exclusively to pensioners,” said Wallert.

He speculated that Sweden’s working-age cohort perhaps had a more relaxed approach to the jolliest of seasons. 

Workers should watch out for Mondays though, with the risk of heart failure for the under-65s soaring 20 percent on the first day of the working week. 

Moving on a few days, Swedish hearts welcomed the mini-break offered by the weekend, when the risk of heart failures was 12 percent lower than normal.  

John Wallert presented his findings on Monday at the European Society of Cardiology’s congress in Rome, where he received a Best Young Investigator Award. 


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