How to combat ‘Holiday heart syndrome’ this season

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Researchers with the American Heart Association have determined that cardiac issues increase in frequency and severity around the holiday season.

This phenomenon has come to be known as ‘Holiday heart syndrome’.

Oftentimes it’s caused by the interruption of daily routines that occurs during the holidays.

“The body doesn’t understand that you’re on vacation and that you are breaching some of these rules,” Ascension Sacred Heart Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mario Pulido said.

The breaches come in many different forms.

“[People] travel, they may or may not pack their usual medicines,” Pulido said. They may or may not pack their usually dietary pieces and so when they go out and eat at other family members houses, a lot of things come into play such as sodium and at times alcohol, which can have a cardiovascular effect on the body’s blood pressure the body’s fluid retention and other things like that which in turn can have a result on the individual.”

But it’s not just what you eat.

“Stress is a big component of heart health,” clinical electrophysiologic Dr. Saeed Khaja said. “We actually also see patients who have heart attacks purely from emotional stress.”

Shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness, losing consciousness, or general unwellness are all symptoms of a cardiac event.

Obviously, you should protect your health, but you don’t have to feel like you are depriving yourself of the joys this time of year.

“You can still have the cake, you can still have whatever it is. It’s moderation. Its portion size. When you tell them don’t eat it it’s really difficult. Eat it but just one bite,” Khaja said.

Experts said you should know the signs, especially if you’re at risk.

And if you think you’re having chest pains, seek immediate medical attention– as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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