There’s something about the holiday season and flickering. We’re all aware that Christmas lights are meant to do so, but did you know that your heart is more inclined to flicker and flutter this time of year (sorry, but we are not talking about mistletoe) There are defined physical risks associated with the holidays as well. The disturbing aspect of today’s topic is you’re not immune to this even if you’re otherwise healthy.
Holiday heart syndrome is a real condition and has been described as such since the 1970s. It’s the result of eating and drinking alcohol too much (with or without excessive caffeine intake and a lack of sleep), which is exactly what we’re inclined to do this time of year. The combination of these indulgences places an undue level of strain on the heart, which causes the heart to develop an abnormal rhythm, most commonly atrial fibrillation. Interestingly, certain foods, alcohol and caffeine all have direct effects on the heart, and indirectly they can also affect the heart through increase of certain hormones (such as epinephrine) that stimulate the heart.