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‘Tis the season to take care of your heart

With the holiday season approaching, we see a surge in social gatherings and holiday parties which leads to more alcohol consumption among people. More than 50% of people are believed to binge drink during this time of the year. [1]

Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Heart Health

Fig.1: Alcohol consumption during holiday weeks [2]

Binge drinking during holidays can lead to “holiday heart syndrome”. It is also referred to as alcohol-induced atrial arrhythmia, which is a racing or irregular heartbeat which can lead to clots, stroke, or other heart-related complications if not treated. It is not caused by long-term drinking but only due to binge drinking.  It can even occur in people without a history of cardiovascular problems.[3]

While people get carried away with the holiday spirit, it is particularly crucial to take measures and drink in moderation. The best way to prevent holiday heart syndrome would be to be aware of the amount of alcohol you are consuming, stay hydrated, avoid overindulging in unhealthy foods and get plenty of sleep. Celebrating with your friends and family is good for your heart, but binge drinking and eating can ruin your holiday cheer.

Effect of Alcohol on Heart Health

There are as many opinions on the effects, positive or otherwise, of moderate alcohol consumption on cardiovascular health as there are types of spirits. While research supporting “a glass of wine a day” tends to focus on the cardioprotective antioxidants, and their effects on raising “good” cholesterol, these positive findings may be confounded by factors like a complimentary stress-free lifestyle and a healthy diet.

Despite the lack of strong evidence in favor of moderate alcohol consumption for a healthier heart, there is little doubt that excessive alcohol consumption negatively affects the body, especially the heart - its musculature, vessels, and electrical conduction system. At the time of drinking, it can lead to increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, weakened heart muscle, and irregular heartbeats. In the longer run, it can even cause a heart attack or a stroke.[4] 

Below is an example of how in one user increased alcohol intake the night before leads to more rhythm changes in the ECG recording on the following day. 

ECG Graph

This holiday season, take care of your heart and your loved ones. Our Fourth Frontier team wishes you and your family happy and safe holidays. We hope you enjoy your holiday parties but even more importantly, we hope you stay safe and healthy as you enter the new year! 

*The information contained in this blog is provided on an as-is basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy or usefulness. The content in this blog is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is meant for informational purposes only. This blog contains copyright material, the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner.