It can affect anyone at any age, even those in perfect health. It occurs when a large amount of alcohol causes your heart to suddenly beat out of control at a rapid pace without pumping properly. If it goes on for more than a few minutes, blood pools inside your heart and can lead to congestive heart failure or stroke.
Dr. Marc Gillinov is the author of Heart 411. He says it’s not holiday parties that cause the fatal syndrome. It’s the fact that the holidays are a time when people tend to go overboard drinking alcohol. So, they’re more likely to develop Holiday Heart Syndrome.
So, next time you’re drinking at the company holiday mixer, or “ugly sweater” holiday party, be on the lookout for the number one warning sign of Holiday Heart Syndrome; your heart is racing, and erratic. The fix: Immediately stop drinking alcohol and guzzle cold water.
Experts say a flood of cold water often resets your heart rhythm back to normal. But, you’re not off the hook yet. If your heart’s still erratic after five minutes or you have chest pain and shortness of breath, then those are signs that you could be suffering from congestive heart failure or stroke, so call 911!