Get Healthy for the Holidays: avoiding Holiday Heart Syndrome

(WTNH) — Before you pour yourself another alcoholic drink during your holiday dinner, Dr. Imran Ali with Bridgeport Hospital warns about Holiday Heart Syndrome.

What Exactly Is Holiday Heart Syndrome?

Studies dating back to the 1970s have noticed a higher incidence of irregular heart rhythms including what we call Atrial Fibrillation in those who
drink a little bit more alcohol over the holidays. Atrial Fibrillation is when the top part of the heart or what we call the Atria “quiver” rapidly
essentially not making the heart function as an effective pump. The alcohol actually is metabolized to an agent that affects the sodium and
magnesium levels in your heart cells causing an electrical signal mixup.

How much is too much to drink, isn’t true though that some low alcohol daily like red wine is good for your heart?

This is a question that is always asked. In the defining study where Holiday Heart Syndrome was defined patients who drank more than (1-2
drinks, =15 g/day for women and 1-3 drinks, =30 g/day for men). That translates 2 12 ounces of regular beer, 10 ounces of table wine, or 3 ounces
of 80-proof distilled spirits.
It was when people drank a little more in a 24 hour period as in the holidays that some increased cardiac arrhythmias occurred. Yes Red Wine is
good for your heart mostly because of Resvertrol a polyphenol protects the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Resvertrol is around in Grape
and berries so there are other ways of getting its benefits.

What other effects of Alcohol do we need to worry about besides our heart?

Just last week the American Society of Clinical Oncology arena about how excess alcohol can increase your relative risk of cancer especially
head and neck cancer. Patients who are undergoing cancer treatment should especially limit their alcohol intake

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