Holiday Heart Syndrome

Holiday Heart Syndrome almost sounds like a good thing this time of year, but unfortunately it has nothing to do with good will towards man. Holiday Heart Syndrome happens most often to average people who aren't even at risk for cardiac problems but who overindulge during the holidays.

"Holiday Heart Syndrome is when someone probably has consumed a little too much alcohol during the holiday season. There can be other reasons you can get it, not necessarily alcohol. It can be stress," explained Baptist Health Cardiologist Dwight Chrisman.

Stress, fatigue, too much to drink and dehydration are all common around the holidays and all causes of Holiday Heart Syndrome.

"From a patient's standpoint, you would feel that your heart is racing."

It may surprise you to know this condition is most common in otherwise heart healthy individuals, not your typical cardiac patients.

"It's much more common in that younger age group, and I also think that younger people can tolerate it a little longer than others. You know, they'll put up with it a little bit longer before they say something is wrong here and have an evaluation done," said Chrisman.

Many of us have felt our hearts race all of a sudden, almost like you just finished working out, but the beats go back to normal pretty quickly, and you forget about it. So, when should you take your racing heart to the emergency room? Well, Dr. Chrisman says if the palpitations continue even after you've removed yourself from the holiday stressor, or if it lasts for more than a couple hours.

"It also gives us an opportunity to figure out if there's any other causes that could have contributed to it," said Chrisman.

A simple EKG can give a doctor those answers.