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Prevent Holiday Heart Syndrome

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Heart healthy couple in their 50s

Holidays are for celebrating with your ‘ohana, and this season offers more festivities to gather and enjoy savory meals and delicious drinks. While making the most of this month, be sure to prioritize your heart health and avoid Holiday Heart Syndrome.

Overindulgence in a short amount of time can lead to the condition known as Holiday Heart. The combination of too much alcohol, salt, stress, and caffeine causes your heart to work harder and may result in an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation.

Dr. Margo Vassar, a cardiologist at Queen’s says, “Around the holidays, we see an increase in heart-related hospitalizations often caused by excessive alcohol and the negative effects of stress. It can impact those that are healthy without prior heart-related conditions as well as those that have a history or risk factors for atrial fibrillation.”

Holiday Heart Syndrome can resolve on its own, so if you notice a faster heart rate or fluttering, it likely means you need to stop drinking that glass of wine. If symptoms persist or feel more severe, then you should seek urgent medical care. These symptoms include dizziness or fainting, chest pain and shortness of breath.

Tips to Prevent Holiday Heart Syndrome

Stay heart-healthy this season with moderation and mindfulness of the food and drinks you consume. These helpful tips from Dr. Vassar can go a long way in preventing Holiday Heart Syndrome.

  • Eat a healthy meal at home before the party so you are not tempted to overindulge in salty and
    sweet treats.
  • Drink one or two glasses of water between each alcoholic beverage
  • Set boundaries, scheduling time to relax and remember you don’t have to go to every party
  • Stay physically active or start an exercise routine now instead of waiting for the new year.

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