Are You Drinking Your Way to ‘Holiday Heart Syndrome’?


By Arthur Agatston, MD|Everyday Health

holiday-bar1-compressedAt this festive time of year, I look forward to seasonal greetings from patients I haven’t heard from in a while. For me, it’s a sign they’re doing well. Unfortunately, I know I’ll also hear from a few folks with a less cheerful message: They call complaining of palpitations from what is known as “holiday heart syndrome.”

This term was coined back in 1978 to describe the irregular heart rhythms (or cardiac arrhythmias) that occur at holiday time, typically in healthy people without heart disease and often after several days of heavy drinking (defined in this case as three or more drinks a day for women and four or more for men). Since then, much has been written about “holiday heart.”

While the exact mechanisms behind alcohol and arrhythmias are unclear, it appears that acute alcohol ingestion can cause short circuits in the heart’s electrical rhythm, increases in levels of free fatty acids in the blood, and surges in adrenaline and other stress hormones. Alcohol may also have an effect on electrolytes, particularly sodium, which play a key role in heart rhythm.

In some people, even modest amounts of alcohol (as little as one drink) can cause holiday heart syndrome. This is often compounded by psychological stress, overeating, too much sodium, dehydration, lack of sleep, and overdoing it on caffeine and/or marijuana.

Read the rest of the article here…

Tags: , , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

1 Reader Comment

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1.' Chas says:

    I have first-hand experience at this. I think it is a shame that so many medical issues are shoved into a neat little catch-all phrase box. In 2001 I took a paid vacation to Key West to unwind from my stressful job and enjoy the festivities there during Halloween. I didn’t realize I already had a high cholesterol count. I was overdoing it at night on the Tequila and would have coffee the next day to recover from the night before. I was paranoid about bacteria being in the drinking water(real, or imagined), and didn’t replenish my bodily fluids as I should have. What pushed me over the edge was having a heavily peppered fish dinner at the airport and I knew my body needed fluids, but, I was unable to command the waitresses attention to bring me some water. Moments before my flight was scheduled to leave my heart started beating at a feverish pitch and irregularly. I was rushed to the Emergency ward(the paramedics at first thought the call was for an older gentleman sitting next to me and much to his chagrin, started to attend to him and I had to point out that it was me who was having heart trouble- I was 45, but, most people mistook me for my early 30’s). I spent some unscheduled few days in the hospital on Key West, before leaving the island. I still get heart palpitations occasionally when I become too fatigued. Please don’t over do the alcohol and stay hydrated- it’s not worth it. Water is your savior.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use' must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Send this to a friend