Heart health as we prepare to ‘Spring Forward’

Posted at 11:33 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 23:33:33-05

ACROSS WEST MICHIGAN--Sunday we 'spring forward' for daylight saving time, and some of us will leave the weekend with one less hour of sleep.

Doctors say losing that hour may impact our health more than we might think.

A recent study suggests a possible correlation between heart troubles and time change.

According to the 2014 study, heart attacks increased around 25 percent the Monday after the time change.

However, the week-long total of heart attacks showed no spikes.

"It’s a very interesting concept, you know, I think it’s actually a very smart study," said Dr. Thomas Boyden, a preventive cardiologist at Spectrum Health. "I think there’s a correlation between the stress of going back to work and maybe increased stress hormone on Monday’s."

According to Boyden, stress hormones play a major role in heart inflammation.

Boyden, adding that although the study shows correlation it doesn't show cause.

"Heart attacks are more common [at] the beginning of the week, usually Monday and more common in the morning so this actually has some scientific merit behind it," he said.

Couple that with springing forward and Boyden says there's a little bit more of a scientific hypothesis behind it.

Although there is correlation between the time-change and heart health, Boyden says there's no proven cause yet.

"Until it’s actually proven, when you actually randomize people to this stuff and see whether or not there’s a true causation between the switch over from daylight saving time, you don’t know," Boyden said.

As for those still worried, some suggest easing yourself into the time change.

As for Boyden, his best advice for preventing a heart attack is eating healthy and exercise.

Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, or pressure along with increased shortness of breath.

Boyden says his patients have described it as "a ton of bricks on your chest."

"If you know you have heart disease and you know what your symptoms are...and you start feeling that because of the switch over, I’d take it seriously," Boyden said.