Holiday heart syndrome: It’s real, and it could happen to you

Holiday heart syndrome: It’s real, and it could happen to you

During the holidays, your normal routine can get a little crazy. Parties, shopping and seemingly endless plates of food can take a toll on even the healthiest of lifestyles. Doctors were seeing such an increase in the amount of atrial fibrillation cases at hospitals during this time of year, that they dubbed the condition "Holiday Heart" in 1987, according to Everyday Health. What is holiday heart and how can you avoid it? Check out this helpful information and have a happy – and healthy – season. 

What is holiday heart?
According to Fox News, holiday heart occurs when your consumption of salt, caffeine, food and alcohol increases drastically, as it tends to during the holiday season. The rhythm of the heart is often disturbed, causing atrial fibrillation – a serious medical condition that causes your heart to beat rapidly and irregularly, and can eventually lead to stroke or permanent cardiac damage. Holiday heart sometimes encompasses cardiomyopathy, or a weakened heart, as well, in addition to heart attacks and congestive heart failure. 

It's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even during the holidays.

What causes it?
A variety of factors contribute to holiday heart, but the most significant is an increase in alcohol consumption. According to Everyday Health, a study was conducted in 1987 involving 24 patients who experienced atrial fibrillation during the holidays and spent time in the emergency room. All of the subjects were considered to be relatively healthy people with regular to heavy alcohol consumption habits. During the holidays, however, they had all dialed up their liquor intake to a binge-drinking level. Continually consuming large quantities of alcohol can greatly weaken the heart, reported Fox News. This can negatively affect its rhythm, leading to conditions like atrial fibrillation. 

Overeating can also contribute to holiday heart. When you repeatedly eat big meals, your stomach can get distended. This affects the nervous system and can contribute to irregular heart rhythms, noted Fox News. Often, holiday food isn't the healthiest. It typically contains large amounts of sodium, which is another factor that can affect this disorder. When you consume too much salt, your body retains lots of water, which causes an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure puts you at risk for a number of cardiac issues, including holiday heart. 

How can it be prevented?

"If you're headed to a celebration or throwing one yourself, provide nutritious food options to balance out the unhealthy treats."

Though you might want to overindulge during the holidays, it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in the face of temptations. Consume alcohol moderately, control your portion sizes and eat foods that are low in sodium. If you're headed to a celebration or throwing one yourself, provide nutritious food options to balance out the unhealthy treats. Consider using ingredients like salmon, walnuts and olive oil, which contain the heart healthy compound omega-3 fatty acids. 

In addition to eating these foods, you can get your boost of omega-3s through the supplement Omax3. Developed by doctors associated with Yale University, it contains 91 percent concentrated omega-3 and is your best choice for maximum human performance. 

Essential takeaways 

  • In 1987 the term "holiday heart" was coined to give a title to the increase in heart issues coming to the emergency room during the holiday season. 
  • Holiday heart can include atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, heart attacks and congestive heart failure. 
  • Typically, the condition is caused as a result of excess alcohol consumption, overeating and a high sodium intake. 
  • In order to avoid this issue, maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season. 
  • Make sure your diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the heart health compound available through the premium supplement Omax3.