The holidays can often be a time of excess: rich foods, elegant desserts, and an abundance of holiday drinks. If this isn’t how you usually eat—and we hope it isn’t—such indulgence can be damaging to your heart.
Holiday Heart Syndrome is the term used by some doctors to describe the adverse effects caused by unrestrained holiday cheer. People who do not usually drink alcohol may be particularly susceptible to holiday heart syndrome. Holiday heart syndrome refers to the development of an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation, brought on by over-indulgence of alcohol in a short period of time. Atrial fibrillation is a risk factor for a variety of heart conditions including stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.
Celebrate Responsibly – Avoid the Risk of Overindulgence
Holiday Heart Syndrome may have several triggers. An increase in the consumption of saturated fats from all those creamy foods adds extra stress on the cardiovascular system as cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels spike. This extra stress combined with consuming more alcohol than usual, may increase your risk of a cardiovascular event.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the spirit of the holidays, but it is important to do so in moderation. Here are some heart-healthy tips for enjoying the holidays:
- Limit alcohol intake and be careful not to drink to excess
- Be careful about eating foods high in fat, sugar, and salt
- Enjoy a small meal at home before attending an event to feel satiated and avoid overeating
- Remember, one night of merriment can have lasting effects on your heart.
Enjoy the holidays—in moderation.