Holiday Heart Syndrome

Guest article by Shwetha Bhatia

It is an irregular heartbeat pattern presented in individuals who are otherwise healthy. The term is defined as “abnormal heart rhythms sometimes following excessive alcohol consumption; usually temporary”.

Holiday heart syndrome can be the result of stress, dehydration, and drinking alcohol. It is sometimes associated with binge drinking common during the holiday season. The condition can also occur when individuals consume only moderate amounts of alcohol.

While nobody should binge drink during the holidays, people with a history of atrial fibrillation should be especially vigilant about avoiding or limiting alcohol. Mechanisms responsible for irregular heart beats may include direct toxicity and alcohol’s contribution to obesity, sleep-disordered breathing, and hypertension. Certainly drinking with food, interspersing with non-alcoholic drinks especially water, spacing drinks at 1 standard unit per hour and keeping the total dose of alcohol low are recommended.

Shwetha Bhatia is a registered dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association. She runs her practice under the brand name “Metamorphosis’ in Mumbai. She is also a competitive fitness athlete (IBBF Bronze winner at the State & National Level 2015). She has also set up her own gym and nutrition counselling centre in Goa called Gym & Tonic. She’s also a columnist for the fitness magazine Krunch Today.

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