Sunday, July 14, 2024

HEALTH: Holiday Heart Syndrome- Listen to your cardiac rhythm

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We wait the whole year for the holiday season to arrive, but not our hearts.During the holiday season, many people begin to binge-eat junk food, drink excessively, and do other things.This could actually lead to holiday heart syndrome.Yes, you read it right. Do you want to know more about it? Here’s all you need to know about it as we bring to you a detailed analysis of the syndrome this week for our health segment by Tejal Sinha

The holiday season is a time of year and a season of celebration that we all anticipate all year. But here’s something that you’ll have to pay proper attention to. Excessive salt, caffeine, and alcohol consumption can result in a condition known as “Holiday Heart”, which can have serious consequences.

Holiday hearts may sound like another fun and exciting part of the holiday season. But according to the cardiological term, “holiday heart” actually refers to the effect of the stress of too much alcohol, too much salt, and higher blood pressure on the heart.

It’s always been observed that intake of too much salt, caffeine, and alcohol increases an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease.The cardiovascular system is affected by alcohol. At the time of drinking, alcohol can cause a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure. In the long term, drinking above the guidelines can lead to an ongoing increase in heart rate, high blood pressure, weakened heart muscle, and an irregular heartbeat. All of these factors can increase the likelihood of an alcohol-induced heart attack or stroke.
And, today, for our next segment of Health Talk, we will be talking in detail about holiday heart syndrome. So, let’s first begin by understanding how the term entered the cardiology world.

Holiday Heart Syndrome is an acute cardiac rhythm and/or conduction disturbance associated with heavy ethanol consumption in a person without other clinical evidence of heart disease. The term was first coined by Philip Ettinger in 1978. The initial recognition of the syndrome was a result of Philip and his co-investigators’ study, which evaluated 32 separate dysrhythmic episodes in 24 patients who were admitted to the hospital for their condition. These patients consumed alcohol heavily and regularly; in addition, they took part in a weekend or holiday drinking binge immediately prior to evaluation.

In their series, the most common cardiac rhythm disturbances were supraventricular tachyarrhythmias and atrial fibrillation.Typically, this resolved rapidly with spontaneous recovery during subsequent abstinence from alcohol use.

So, how does holiday heart syndrome occur? Dr. Shahid Shafi Bhat, Consultant Internal Medicine, Ujala Cygnus BrightStar Hospital, says, “This occurs usually in chronic alcoholics who take part in a weekend or holiday drinking binge. This syndrome was usually seen in western countries, but due to changing lifestyles, it has increasingly been seen in India. The most important aspect of holiday heart syndrome is that it is reversible. Excessive alcohol consumption, stress, and dehydration appear to be the causes of HHS.

Studies have shown that 5 to 10% of rhythm disorders like atrial fibrillation occur due to heavy alcohol use. Chronic alcoholism leads to a buildup of ethanol and acetaldehyde, which cause oxidative damage, cardiac arrhythmias, and heart failure.The physician needs to be aware of the typical presentation of alcoholic patients during holidays, when symptoms are precipitated by binge drinking. Prompt treatment like electrical shock (cardioversion) is needed in some cases. Unless treated in time, it can cause sudden death. All at-risk patients need to be counselled regarding the risks.”

Meanwhile, seconding Dr. Shahid, Dr. Pradeep Kumar D, Sr. Consultant in Interventional Cardiology, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore, explains to us in detail about the same. He says, “Cardiomyopathy is a disorder of the heart muscle that makes it more challenging for the blood to be pumped to the body’s other organs, resulting in heart failure. The kind of cardiomyopathy and the severity of it determine the type and course of treatment, which may involve drugs, surgically implanted devices, heart surgery, or, in extreme circumstances, a heart transplant. Holiday heart syndrome is a condition brought on by excessive alcohol consumption, which frequently occurs over the weekend.

Although this heart condition may appear at any time, it is most typically seen during the holiday season, when people are more likely to overindulge in alcoholic beverages and high-calorie foods. Atrial fibrillation (A-fib), which is brought on by the increased salt level in fast food and beverages and can ultimately result in serious heart issues, is a frightening side effect of excessive celebration. Supraventricular tachycardias or atrial fibrillation, a rapid irregular heartbeat, can develop after excessive drinking. Atrial fibrillation can cause chest pain, irregular heartbeats, tiredness, dizziness, and breathing problems. Usually, these episodes come to an end after abstaining from alcohol for a while.”

He further says that these rhythm irregularities are thought to be caused by structural and functional anomalies in the heart’s conduction system, which alcohol and its metabolites, such as acetaldehyde, are thought to induce. Alcohol also increases sympathetic nervous system activity, which increases the risk of arrhythmias.

Sharing a recent case, Dr. Pradeep says, “A 44-year-old man who had consumed a lot of alcohol the previous evening arrived at the OPD. He had symptoms of atrial fibrillation, such as palpitations and breathing difficulties.He was cured of it after undergoing treatment and abstaining from alcohol. You may prevent holiday heart syndrome in the best way possible by making lifestyle changes.”

Causes: Excess alcohol
.High-calorie foods
.High doses of caffeine, salt, or even sugar

.Slow heartbeat
.Irregular heartbeat
.Feeling pauses between heartbeats
.Chest pain or discomfort


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