Too much drinking can cause holiday heart syndrome

POSTED: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 - 4:20pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

BRYAN -- New Year's Eve is only three more days away and with many of us partying our way into 2012, you may want to think twice about how many glasses of champagne you celebrate with.

The holiday season gives everyone an excuse to binge on our favorite food and drinks but doctors say avoid the indulgences because you could suffer from more than just a couple of unwanted pounds.

"You could have palpitations where your heart beats real hard or possibly beat faster than normal and maybe even dizziness when you stand up," said Bonnie Lokey a nurse practicioner with St. Joseph Family Medicine.

It may not seem like much but doctors call this "holiday heart syndrome," an abnormal beating of the heart in response to too much alcohol.

"Your liver is just not able to metabolize that through the system and it backs up and poisons your liver, so then your heart tries to pump blood through the liver but the liver is hardened and unable to process it through."

Lokey says if this happens you should you stop drinking and sit down and in most cases your heart rate will regulate on it's own but that's not the case every time.

"It's poisonous to your system and backs up, causing heart attacks, heart failure and even deaths."

So if you plan on ringing in the new year with a little bubbly, make sure you don't over do it and as Lokey says, "Eat, drink and be merry in moderation."


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