Holiday Heart Syndrome: The risks of drinking during the holidays

A person experiencing Holiday Heart Syndrome will feel a lack of energy, chest discomfort, dizziness and difficulty breathing after heavy drinking.

 People drinking beer in a group  (photo credit: PEXELS)
People drinking beer in a group
(photo credit: PEXELS)

With holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas and more coming up later this month, many will go out drinking on holiday outings. However, be careful not to drink too much.

A phenomenon known as "Holiday Heart Syndrome," occurs when binge drinking causes irregular heartbeats (Atrial fibrillation or A-fib), and there's an even higher risk if the person drinking already has heart issues. If a person is diagnosed with Holiday Heart Syndrome, their doctor may urge them to stop drinking completely, according a medical article on WebMD. 

Atrial fibrillation is expected to increase by 60% in thirty years, according to the health website Managed Healthcare Executive, which also states that it's more prevalent among older adults. 

What are the symptoms of "Holiday Heart Syndrome" or A-fib?

According to the WebMD article published last week, a person experiencing Holiday Heart Syndrome will feel a lack of energy, chest discomfort, dizziness and difficulty breathing after heavy drinking.

A study published in Cardiology in October concluded that alcohol abstinence caused a 20% reduction in Atrial fibrillation, according to the study's authors.

 Drinking water (illustrative) (credit: RAWPIXEL) Drinking water (illustrative) (credit: RAWPIXEL)

How can you avoid "Holiday Heart Syndrome?"

WebMD recommends that you eat and drink in moderation, not get too stressed and be extra careful when taking medications. Other recommendations include being active and working out.

According to these studies, if you're out with friends and family during Hanukkah, make sure that you or no one else in your group is binge drinking.