Too Much Alcohol Could Cause Holiday Heart Syndrome

By: Judy Fortin, Health Minute
By: Judy Fortin, Health Minute

Holiday parties can leave you with more than a hang over.

Too much drinking can be bad for your heart.

An open bar can be tempting during the holiday season, but cardiologists say too much wine, beer or hard liquor can send your heart into an abnormal rhythm and create Holiday Heart Syndrome.

"These people wind up going from their celebrations to the emergency room and often being admitted to the hospital with a very rapid and irregular heartbeat," explained Dr. Laurence Sperling, with the Emory School of Medicine.

Dr. Sperling says the condition can occur in anyone from binge drinkers to people who rarely drink. It isn't always dangerous, but the sensation can be frightening.

"Feels like your heart's beating out of your chest. Your heart's racing. There can be associated symptoms like feeling short of breath, sometimes a pressure-like feeling in the chest or in the throat or neck," Dr. Sperling said.

The doctor tells patients to get checked out by a doctor.

Often a regular heartbeat will resume on its own, but some patients need medication or electric shock to restore the rhythm.

He recommends people drink in moderation, or not at all, not just during the holidays, but year round. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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