Can Vacations Perpetuate Heart Attacks?

The untimely death of James Gandolfini brings to light a surprising statistic that heart attacks often occur while on vacation. INSIDE EDITION speaks to Dr. Oz about the warning signs.

It was sudden and shocking, but James Gandolfini's fatal heart attack while on vacation in Rome wasn't all that unusual.

Going on vacation can actually increase your risk of having a heart attack!

Overindulging in food and alcohol, stressful air travel, polluted air, and extreme temperatures can all trigger a heart attack.

Television's Dr. Mehmet Oz just wrote about James Gandolfini's death for INSIDE EDITION interviewed him about the risk of heart attacks while on vacation.

"When you go on vacation, you change your routine, which is a good thing. It allows you to expand your brain, to live a different life, but sometimes you give up things that are important to you like your physical activity routine, taking the medications you might be on. In fact, you start eating things differently than what you've gotten adjusted to, so all of these can wreak havoc on your body." Dr. Oz said.

He pointed out that even one meal of rich, fatty food, like the one James Gandolfini reportedly ate the night he died, can be deadly.

"The meal that you eat right now, if it has fatty food in it especially, will close your arteries and can lead to a heart attack. It's that quick a transition," Dr. Oz commented.

Heart attacks are actually the number one cause of death for vacationers. It happened to Scott Roller from Loveland, Colorado. He suffered a heart attack while on vacation in Germany last month. He is currently recovering in a rehab center outside Munich. INSIDE EDITION spoke to his wife Ursula, who is by his bedside.

"Definitely not the vacation we expected to have," she said. "We had actually gone out to dinner with some friends. Next thing I know he's sitting at the edge of the bed saying 'Ursula, I think there's something terribly wrong with me.'"

Dr. Oz gave some advice for avoiding health problems during vacation.

"A couple things that I would recommend; aspirin without question, you ought to have it in your pocket. Most people over the age of 40 ought to be taking it," Dr. Oz said. "When you travel, you're on a plane, your legs aren't moving, the aspirin can help protect you from having a problem there. But it can also loosen up the blood a little bit so if you do things that probably aren't the best for you, you can overcome it."

Meanwhile, James Gandolfini's body is back home in New Jersey today.

It was flown by a private jet from Rome and arrived at Newark Liberty Airport late Sunday night.  

The Soprano's star's body was taken to Robert Spearing Funeral Home in Park Ridge, New Jersey.

Gandolfini's family thanked some powerful friends who helped expedite the body's return from Italy. In a statement, the Gandolfinis praised Secretary of State John Kerry, former President Bill Clinton, and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their kind support.

To learn more about Scott Roller's condition and how you can help, go to