Even if it sounds like a warm and fuzzy Hallmark Christmas movie or some charming tooling you might see on Pinterest, the term holiday heart refers to a relatively common health problem. I should know because it happened to me. A few years ago, after a few glasses of wine for dinner, I noticed that my heart was pounding. I lay down and assumed that if I rested a bit, it would slow down. But my confusion did not. For at least an hour it was throbbing wildly in my chest.
In panic, I started using the Internet to diagnose myself (because I'm a millennium-old one, and that's what we do, obvs). Of course, there was a name for what I experienced: the holiday heart syndrome.
The holiday heart syndrome is by definition an "acute cardiac rhythm and / or conduction disorder" associated with alcohol consumption. In other words, your heart becomes restless when you drink too much ̵
Why "Holiday Heart"?
Although this can happen every time we drink a little too much, the state deserves its "vacation" for a good reason. The alcohol consumption of Americans increases dramatically when we go into the holiday season. While celebrations and celebrations fill our calendars, we pack them with alcohol: a quarter of the annual sales of distilled alcohol come between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and one study found that average alcohol consumption over the last two weeks of December was 70 percent higher than the rest of the year.
According to Alcohol.org, 27.3 percent of men and 16.7 percent of women say they had enough to drink on New Year's Eve to remember the party. And for some, the reasons for overstepping are not so festive. During the holidays, there is a strong increase in mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, which can often lead to increased alcohol consumption.
Who affects it?
Just as this syndrome is not limited to the holidays, it's also not restricted to a specific population group, healthy or unhealthy – and it does not take much thrills to experience it. I already had my "attack" after two drinks. Am I just particularly vulnerable? For some unknown reason, it turns out that there are some people. For very sensitive people, even a single drink can trigger cardiac arrhythmias. Stress and dehydration – two more hallmarks of the holidays – also seem to play a role in the increased risk. However, most people experience only one episode of the holiday heart syndrome after drinking alcohol.
Is there a way to avoid this?
It is true that abstaining from alcohol is the only foolproof way to prevent the holiday heart syndrome. That does not mean that we are dry in December. Nieca Goldberg, MD, cardiologist and medical director of the Joan H. Table Center for Women's Health at NYU's Langone Medical Center, encourages moderation rather than excess.
"Just because it's vacation does not mean you should increase your alcohol intake," she says. (For reference, "moderate" consumption is broadly defined as up to one drink a day for women and up to two a day for men.) For those who may be sensitive, you should drink alcohol with modest checking in. re feeling.
What to do if Holiday Heart Hits
If a telltale palpitations or an irregular pulse after Most of the cases of Holiday Heart Syndrome will disappear within a few hours or up to a day, but more severe symptoms will require medical attention every time you experience shortness of breath after the alcohol intake, lightheadedness or fainting (or actually fainting), go to the hospital immediately, instructs Goldberg (and common sense).
What long-term effects are you worried about?  If you are like me (which is a perpetual hypochondriac), you may be wondering if an episode of a holiday heart syndrome has disastrous consequences for your long-term heart health. For example, does it make you more likely to have a heart attack later in life? While there seems to be no indication that the holiday heart is a permanent disruption to your ticker, chronic alcohol use carries a number of health risks, both to your heart and to your health.
"Heavy drinking can lead to a condition known as alcoholic cardiomyopathy, an irreversible weakening of the heart muscle that can lead to heart failure," warns Goldberg. Long-term drinking increases the risk of many health problems that we all would like to avoid, from liver disease to cancer to dementia.
Fortunately, there are many other options besides alcohol consumption during the holidays. Decorate a gingerbread house, take off your best ugly sweater and go laugh, or sit comfortably in front of a fire. Or, sure, have a drink here or there – just watch it and keep it quiet.