Too much of a good time: Holiday Heart Syndrome

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Dr. Laurie Teitelman, ND

 

It’s easy to overdo it during the holidays: We tend to eat and drink too much, and forget to exercise enough. But overdoing it on the drinking can do more than give you a hangover. New studies reveal that even those with no known history of heart disease but drink a lot of alcohol at one time are candidates for “holiday heart syndrome”. Apparently, even one night of heavy drinking could be followed by an episode of atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation, which is when your heart beats rapidly too rapidly (and originates in the upper chambers of the heart).

What can you do if you get this feeling? If it lasts longer than five minutes (and if you’ve never experienced this before) it is important that you see your doctor (and get someone else to drive you so that you don’t have a heart attack on the way!). If you’ve experienced this feeling before and know that it gradually dissipates, then you may be safe to wait it out. It is important to understand your triggers, such as alcohol, caffeine, stress, salty foods, etc. and be extra cautious.

How can you to avoid “holiday heart syndrome”?

Try these nifty tips:

*Limit alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per night for men, one for women.

*Maintain your usual exercise routine as much as possible, even if you must exercise indoors.

*Keep consumption of high-fat and high-sodium foods to a minimum.

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