As the holidays approach, it may be tempting to throw caution to the wind and overindulge. But here’s something you may not know: increased alcohol consumption can trigger the heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation (or AFib).

AFib is a condition where your heart presents with an abnormal heart rhythm, particularly in the atrium. This can lead to serious health complications if left unchecked, such as stroke and dementia. AFib that occurs after celebrations is commonly known as Holiday Heart Syndrome.

What is Holiday Heart Syndrome?

Feeling dizzy, gasping for breath, and mostly importantly, having an irregular heartbeat after drinking a lot? You might just have Holiday Heart Syndrome. It’s a common condition during the holidays. Research has shown there is a 37% increased risk for heart attacks on Christmas Eve alone.

However, alcohol consumption isn’t the only risk. Other stressors and triggers include gift-shopping for friends and family and preparations for gatherings. Exposure to colder temperatures is also a key factor in the onset of AFib this time of year.

How to Prevent AFib and Avoid Holiday Heart Syndrome

The best way to prevent AFib is to manage the common triggers around this time of the year. Here are some ways you can cut down on the indulgences and stress factors during the holiday season:

  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake. If you do indulge, do it in moderation. For women, that means one drink per day and for men, just two.
  • Consider implementing a plant-based holiday menu. Studies have shown that vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, and other plants are a great way of reducing the risk of AFib.
  • Remember to keep exercising despite being busy or cooped up in the house.
  • If you go outside, make sure to bundle up and reduce exposure to cold temperatures.
  • Finally, try listening to calming music to relax. There are plenty of soothing holiday favorites to choose from!

Take Care of Your Heart This Holiday Season

Remember to take care of your heart health this holiday season. By following the few steps here, you can enjoy the celebrations and reduce your risk of AFib. But, if your symptoms have been increasing, talk to a cardiologist with our team at Heart Rhythm Consultants today. We can help address your concerns and provide more information regarding AFib anytime.

About Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A.

The experienced electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. have been serving West Florida including Sarasota, Venice, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and Sun City Center for over 15 years. Our specialty cardiologists, or EP doctors, help patients manage their abnormal heart rhythm conditions, whether they suffer from arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation (AFib), or other irregular heartbeats. Dr. Dilip J. Mathew, Dr. Antonio Moretta, and Dr. Rajesh Malik perform arrhythmia treatments like cardiac ablation, cryoablation, and implanting pacemakers or defibrillators. Dr. Mathew has performed nearly 5,000 complex cardiac ablations. View our office locations in Sarasota and Venice, Florida.