James Gandolfini, star of the ‘Sopranos,’ died yesterday while vacationing in Italy at the age of 51. Was the cause of his death a ‘holiday heart attack?’
This is what a top United States cardiologist told Newsmax Health:
“When you’re on vacation, you don’t eat the same way that you do when you’re at home. People tend to indulge, and that can lead directly to a heart attack,” said Chauncey Crandall, M.D.
An autopsy will be performed, but those close to him said he appeared to suffer a heart attack.
Dr. Crandall, who is chief of the cardiac transplant program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic, said that although most people would be surprised, a ‘holiday heart attack’ is quite common.
“Heart attacks often manifest on holidays when you’re not eating the normal meals,” he said. “You eat excessively, indulging in high fatty foods, and this causes the blood to thicken. The result is a blood clot, which can rupture, resulting in the blockage of blood flow to the heart, causing heart attack and sudden death.”
Dr. Crandall said that Gandolfini was a “walking time bomb.” He was a six-feet-one-inch tall man, who weighed 275 pounds.
Heart disease generally starts decades before it is diagnosed, Dr. Crandall said. “The bottom line was that he was an overweight, probably inactive, and he had multiple risk factors.”
Considering the actor’s size, and reports that he was a heavy eater and drinker, Dr. Crandall speculated that “he probably had elevated blood pressure, and may have had metabolic syndrome.”
“When you’re in the entertainment industry, you are at high risk of death from cardiac causes or from drugs,” said Dr. Crandall, who added, “Unfortunately, this was a sad case that had clear warning signs.”
When traveling, individuals have irregular sleep patterns, often eat food heavy in fat content, and drink more alcohol than their bodies are accustomed to ingesting.
Dr. Crandall said that James Gandolfini fit all the criteria to die from a ‘holiday heart attack.’
The Guardian Express