Why you should pay attention to how much you’re drinking this holiday season

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Too much alcohol while celebrating the holidays could send you to the emergency department.

It can impact the electrical activity of your heart.

Doctors call it the ‘holiday heart syndrome.’

Related Content: Report: Most unaware of link between alcohol, cancer

“It can actually cause something called atrial fibrillation where your heart goes into an erratic irregular heart rhythm,” says Internist Dr. Imran Ali with Bridgeport Hospital.

He adds, it’s a common occurrence this time of year, “Not only is it the alcohol itself but also the excess salt that we have in the diet when we have Thanksgiving- Christmas time. ”

Reactions differ among men and women.

“Women metabolize alcohol a little bit differently so a little bit alcohol for women may have a more active affect on the heart – whereas men could probably tolerate a little bit more alcohol.”

Dr. Ali says pay attention to warning signs of a pounding or fluttering heart.

“If you have any kind of heart palpitations after eating a big meal or drinking alcohol, first thing is not to ignore it. Go to your nearest emergency room because it could be something more than just a heart palpitation. Atrial Fibrillation which is what we see in Holiday Heart Syndrome can eventually, if left untreated can lead to an increase risk of stroke.”

Dr. Ali says the bottom line to alcohol consumption during the holidays — moderation.

That’s because everyone is at risk for holiday heart syndrome.

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