Why Heart Attacks Are the No. 1 Cause of Death for Americans on Vacation

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, but a cardiologist says they can also be stressful.

Heart attacks are the No.1 cause of death of Americans on vacation, according to one Manhattan cardiologist.

The world was in shock when “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini died of heart attack during vacation in Italy in 2013. The husband of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg died the same way on vacation with his family in 2015. 

Manhattan cardiologist Dr. Jennifer Haythe spoke to Inside Edition about why. 

“Even though vacation is supposed to be relaxing, it can in fact be very stressful,” she said. “People change their routines. They eat more than usual, they may drink a lot of alcohol, and then on top of all that they do some strenuous activity.” 

Haythe has advice for all vacationing Americans.

“First off don't forget your meds, don't leave them at home,” she said. “And then please don't forget to take them.”

She also suggests bringing aspirin with you on vacation.

“It's good to have that. It would be what they gave you in an ambulance if you were having a heart attack,” she said. 

In the Dominican Republic, a vacation hot spot under scrutiny for a spate of mysterious deaths, the passings of a few victims have been attributed to heart attacks, but some friends and relatives wonder if that's really the case.

The family of 53-year-old Leyla Cox from Staten Island, New York, was just told she passed away from a heart attack during her vacation in the Dominican Republic. 

Her family told Inside Edition that Cox was in “great health” and her death “makes no sense to us.” 

Her son and ex-husband said they urged her not to go after seeing stories about the Dominican Republic.

It’s not known whether her death is from natural causes, as claimed by the Dominican authorities, or something else.