What Is Holiday Heart Syndrome And How Can You Prevent It?


The wide stretch of holiday festivities from November to the New Year calls for a lot of gatherings, which means a whole lot of eating and drinking.

While the holidays are a good excuse to loosen the reins a little bit on your diet, overindulgence on the intake of unhealthy food and alcohol can lead to a problematic complication called the Holiday Heart Syndrome, which causes a rapid or irregular heart rate and can lead to stroke.

The strain placed on the heart because of the excessive intake of caffeine, alcohol, and foods that are high in salt, cholesterol, and sugar can aggravate the cardiovascular system.

During the holidays, people also tend to wallow in stress due to lack of sleep, financial issues, and even emotional concerns that may lead to further physical strain. Because of such demanding conditions, the days of Dec. 25, 26 and Jan. 1 record more heart attacks than any other time of the year.

What Is Holiday Heart Syndrome And What Are Its Symptoms?

Holiday Heart Syndrome is the condition that occurs with overindulgence in food and drink over the holidays. It is also caused by physical and emotional stress, as well as the spike of adrenaline due to overexcitement.

Basically, it's a combination of factors: too much eating and drinking, and elevated stress hormones, leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Symptoms include:

• Chest pain
• Heart palpitations
• Fatigue
• Shortness of breath and
• Lightheadedness

These symptoms should not be ignored especially during the holidays, and individuals with a history of heart conditions should be extra wary of these signs. However, even patients with no history of cardiovascular diseases or problems can experience Holiday Heart Syndrome.

How Can Holiday Heart Syndrome Be Prevented?

As with most heart-related complications, moderation is the key whether in eating and undertaking physical activities, such as shoveling snow. It is also important to limit the intake of foods high in sodium, fats and sugar, as suggested by the American Heart Association. The consumption of red meat, alcohol, and trans fats should be monitored and kept to a minimum.

That's not saying that the holidays should lose their sense of excitement, but a little mindfulness in food and alcohol intake can lessen your chances of going on a holiday trip to the hospital.

Doctors advise that to lessen the chances of experiencing the Holiday Heart Syndrome, it is important not to eat unhealthy food and drink too much alcohol. A little exercise can also go a long way, and taking a break from all the festivities and craziness of the holiday rush can save your heart as well.

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