TGIM? Mondays, Hospitals, And Heart Disease
September 10, 2013

TGIM? Mondays, Hospitals, And Heart Disease

If you are like me, then heart disease is a genetic concern of yours. My dad, paternal grandfather, and maternal grandfather all died because of heart disease. Now, each one had other issues as well, but ultimately heart disease (i.e. heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke) killed them. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, men and women alike, as the American Heart Association states.

For these reasons, I am very aware of heart health. I regularly research and read up on the newest information, studies, and data. Recently, I came across an article on Time Magazine’s website about heart attacks. In fact, it says, “Some months, days of the week and even times of day are linked to a greater risk of dying if you have a heart condition.” When I read this first line, I was immediately hooked. What days, times, months, and weeks lead to a great risk of dying? I just had to know.

As the Time article says, people who go to the hospital for a heart condition have a greater risk of death or prolonged hospital stay if they are admitted in the month of January, on any Friday, or overnight. These three times had the greatest correlation to death or long hospital stays. The article acknowledged that part of this could be because Fridays and overnight have less staff, but the study neither confirmed nor denied that.

The article also acknowledged Mondays as the best (a subjective term here) time to be admitted. By best, the article meant that those admitted for heart conditions on Mondays had the shortest stays and the lowest death rates.

This information came from a study that collected data from New York hospitals between 1994 and 2007. In this study, “nearly 1 million hospital admissions for heart failure over 14 years, researchers were able to pinpoint the times that were associated with the highest risk of death and longest stays in the hospital. The research was presented at the Heart Failure Congress 2013 in Lisbon.”

Though this information does not necessarily provide advice on how to avoid heart conditions altogether, it does provide us with some information on what could happen when we go to the hospital. If we are more aware of the mortality rates and the connection between those and when people are admitted, then we can be more aware when our family members or we are admitted to a hospital.

The best actions are to do what we can to avoid heart disease. redOrbit writer April Flowers recently published an article that explained that in 2010 more than 200,000 preventable deaths occurred from heart disease (including stroke), and more than half of these happened to those 65 years of age or younger. As Flowers writes:

“The report suggests doctors, nurses, and other health care providers can encourage healthy habits – including not smoking, increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking medicines as directed – to save lives from these preventable deaths. By promoting healthier living spaces, including tobacco-free areas and safe walking areas, health departments and communities can help. Another way local communities can help is by ensuring access to healthy food options, including those with lower sodium. The authors suggest that health care systems adopt and use electronic health records as this would allow them to identify patients that smoke or who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol and help providers follow and support patient progress.”

Eating healthy, avoiding smoking, exercising, maintaining weight, and controlling stress and anger are all good habits to foster in order to prevent or lessen the likelihood of heart disease. The more we know about heart disease, the better…including the connection between death rates and hospital admissions.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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