Skip to main content

Heart Attacks for the Holiday Season

This Happens Every Year

This Happens Every Year

Holiday Heart Syndrome

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are three major consecutive holidays during the very end of the year, followed closely by the New Year holiday. These holidays are a special time for family and friends to be together and celebrate the festivities. This is also a time when many people will indulge more with alcohol, liquor, food, sweets, and treats than at any other time of the year. Travel plans or having guests will also happen during this time, which means closely watching the weather. All of these stressful things combined with unhealthy foods and beverages create the perfect environment for holiday heart syndrome to flourish.

Holiday heart syndrome is formally defined as atrial fibrillation (AFib), or an irregular heartbeat during the holidays from excessive stress, food, and alcohol. In 1978, Dr. Phillip Ettinger founded "holiday heart syndrome" due to the number of increased patients being admitted to the emergency room specifically at Christmas time. This can occur in adults, with the age range of 30 to 50 years old being the most predominant. Holiday heart syndrome can happen to anyone, with or without underlying health issues. Many people overdo the festivities with binge drinking, which can cause the heart to beat irregularly. Many people will eat too many sugary foods they would not normally eat, such as several cookies at an office Christmas party or a second helping of Christmas dinner. This can be very different than daily foods throughout the rest of the year. These foods usually contain higher amounts of salt, sugar, fats, and cholesterol. Therefore, the heart will respond differently.

Signs and Symptoms of Holiday Heart

Signs and symptoms of holiday heart syndrome are the same as a regular heart attack because it is. The only difference is holiday heart syndrome occurs around the holidays, usually on Christmas Eve, and is almost always alcohol induced. Some of the signs and symptoms of holiday heart syndrome are:

  • Dizziness, loss of balance.
  • Feeling faint or weak, with or without sweating.
  • Chest pain and or discomfort.
  • Pounding or racing heartbeat.

*A heart attack can happen anywhere and anytime there is excessive stress on the heart.

**Please seek medical help if any of these signs and symptoms occur, even if it is not the holiday season.

10 p.m. Christmas Eve

The Risk Increases 40%

The Risk Increases 40%

Scroll to Continue

How to Reduce the Risk of Holiday Heart Syndrome

There are certain precautions that can be taken to decrease the risk of holiday heart from occurring. The first and most important thing is to stay hydrated. Many people tend to drink alcohol and liquor more during the holiday season than any other season. Also, the salt and sugar intake is the highest during this time also. Drinking plenty of water will help the body to flush out toxins, rehydrate, and also improve overall blood flow.

The next big precaution to take is to get enough sleep, stay active during the day, and not overdo anything. This includes overindulging in staying up late, excessive drinking and or eating, and forgetting about normal healthy everyday choices. The holiday season is the most chaotic time of the year. It is a time when everything can become hectic and everyone is trying to make enough to do everything. Keeping healthy habits and diet is the safest way to remain out of the E.R. on Christmas Eve at 10 p.m. or any time during the holiday bustle.

Pin on Christmas!

Pin on Christmas!

Doctor AFib on Holiday Heart Syndrome

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2023 Cristale Adams

Related Articles