Christmas dinner

Watch out! Excess these festivities can affect your heart.

This syndrome, unknown by many, is actually very common in our society these days. The "holiday blues" has become more and more common within family member who suffer from stress and anxiety, and this can become very dangerous to our health.

Watch out! Excesses these holidays season can affect your heart.

This holiday season we often change our healthy living habits that we usually carry throughout the year, as well as tensions, stress, anxiety and the "holiday blues" from being away from our family and friends, the fatigue from a whole year of hard work, anguish over the economic situation and even work overload leads us, without realizing it, to abuse and commit excesses in food and alcohol consumption, triggering in our body a series of disorders that lead us to suffer from holiday heart syndrome, a syndrome little known and documented, as it is often confused with other heart conditions that increase considerably at this time of the year, a fact confirmed by various studies carried out to date.

Holiday heart syndrome is known as an arrhythmia, as it alters the heart system. Electrical conduction of the heart transiently, causing the heart to enter in atrial fibrillation and rapid ventricular response, increasing activity both sympathetic and parasympathetic by increasing concentrations of acetaldehyde and fatty acids, caused by poisoning, alcohol abuse or psychoactive substances, dehydration, stress and depression according to the American Heart Association.

Its main symptoms are palpitations, dizziness, dyspnea, rhythm disturbance cardiac arrest, adrenergic discharge, syncope and dehydration, which requires attention specialized medical doctor immediately, because if high levels of alcohol are evidenced in the blood this can trigger other problems, even more serious, as a result of which in this holiday season people "Tend to overeat, drink in excess and stress excessively, and those are important factors”, explains Sandra Chaparro, M.D., cardiologist and director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program of Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute." Considering in the same way that from 200 mg/100 ml of alcohol in blood is sufficient to indicate toxicity and the appearance of heart rhythm disorders.

The treatment of this syndrome is based on parenteral hydration and control of the heart rate, since the heart rhythm disturbances disappear when the blood alcohol concentrations drop gradually, which is why the Holiday heart syndrome is considered a benign and transient disease. However, it must be borne in mind that this syndrome does not only occur in apparently healthy or young people, it also usually affects people with underlying cardiac pathologies regardless of their age, producing slight changes in importance in the days after the festivities, which is why it is suggested that no person should change her lifestyle for any festivity because, there is the risk that some patients may present a reappearance of said syndrome when present other episodes of massive and acute alcohol intake, considering this syndrome as the first sign of a problem of pathological social consumption of alcohol.


Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute

Tonelo D, Providência R, Gonçalves L. Holiday Heart Syndrome Revisited after 34 Years.
Brazilian Archives of Cardiology. 2013;101:183-9.

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