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Holiday Heart Syndrome

January 1, 2010, 6:10 PM by Kelli Grant

Holiday Heart Syndrome
If you're one of the millions who rang in the New Year with a drink in hand, how's your heart feeling today?
Too much to drink on New Year's Eve, could lead to a serious condition called Holiday Heart Syndrome.

Holiday celebrations are known to bring on heart attacks. Partiers forget to take their medication, travel can bring on stress, and too much alcohol can lead to big problems.

“It's not uncommon, people come into the Emergency Room on New Year's Day and have problems - palpitations, feel like their heart's skipping and end up having heart arrhythmias from the alcohol,” said North Central Heart Cardiologist Dr. David Nagelhout.

Nagelhout says if a person has these symptoms, especially on New Year's Day, the first question he might ask is "how much did you drink last night?"

“Alcohol seems to have a pro-arrhythmic effect where it actually causes these arrhythmias. There's probably some toxic effect from too much alcohol - you know anything is moderation is probably OK,” Nagelhout said.

Some people are more sensitive to alcohol... and run a greater risk of an arrhythmia.

“We would certainly encourage anybody who has these types of symptoms - palpitations or chest pain - their heart is beating fast or skipping, to come into the emergency room,” said Nagelhout.

Because if it goes unchecked for too long, Holiday Heart Syndrome can cause a stroke. Fortunately it often goes away on its own.

“Luckily it usually goes away within a day or so or even a few hours and usually it goes away on its own. But not always. So you should seek medical care and have it checked out,” said Nagelhout.

And because January is one of the deadliest months for heart disease... celebrating in moderation could ensure a healthy start to your new year.

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