How To Avoid A "Holiday Heart" - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

How To Avoid A "Holiday Heart"

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Every December, emergency rooms across the county treat patients with a condition called "Holiday Heart".

The shopping, the food, the stress of the holidays. Want to help your heart this holiday season? Take it from Dr. Shami Mahmud - back off the booze.

Take a normal beating heart and then hit the town with either a modest or hard night of drinking, and 24 to 48 hours later, out of nowhere you may develop what's called "Holiday Heart".

"Classically described as a heavy drink maybe on a Friday or Saturday and come Monday morning the heart goes into an abnormal rhythm," Dr. Mahmud said.

Other Holiday Heart symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.

"So if you are young and otherwise healthy it's a fairly benign condition and resolves itself within 24 to 48 hours," Dr. Mahmud said.

But for the middle-aged and elderly - especially those with ongoing health problems - Holiday Heart can be deadly.

"Absolutely, it can lead to a serious event," Dr. Mahmud said.

So Dr. Mahmud says avoid overeating the fatty foods and salty foods, and most importantly overdrinking.

"That's probably the worst thing you can do with respect to Holiday Heart, so if you are going to have a drink or two that's OK. If you're going to have more than that, be careful," Dr. Mahmud said.

Cardiologists would also like to point out if you have a heart attack during the holiday season, call 911 instead of having a family member drive you to the emergency room. Paramedics not only know which hospital to take you to, but they have the equipment to stabilize you along the way.

Studies show excessive alcohol consumption can be toxic to your heard and takes years off your life.

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