Tips to prevent ‘holiday heart’ syndrome

Published on December 10, 2012 at 11:01 AM · No Comments

The holiday season is supposed to be joyous, fun and happy.  But it can also be stressful. The nation's emergency physicians want to remind all Americans to keep your stress in check. 

"For many, including emergency physicians, the holidays come with a daunting pile of obligations," said Dr. Andrew Sama, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. "Don't overdo it, because you can damage your health and possibly wind up spending the holidays in the emergency department."

One particular concern is known as "holiday heart" syndrome.  It is an irregular heartbeat that occurs in people who are otherwise healthy.  It can be the result of stress, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol or caffeine ingestion, and/or dehydration.  Emergency physicians say this is more common during the holiday season because of holiday parties and other events.  Best advice is to moderate alcohol use and drink plenty of water.   If an irregular heartbeat lasts for longer than a few hours, you should seek medical attention or go to the nearest emergency room immediately.  

A long to-do list of decorating, buying presents and hosting parties can be overwhelming.  It is important to pace yourself, whether it's eating and drinking or shopping.

Money has been is a significant source of stress during the holiday season because of the current state of the economy (American Psychological Association 2011).  Here are some tips to help you get through the season with the least amount of stress possible. 

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