Holiday heart syndrome is the occurrence of irregular heartbeats after bouts of acute binge drinking, usually during holidays. Irregular heartbeats are associated with more serious complications including heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Symptoms can include palpitations (a feeling that the heart is beating very quickly and irregularly), shortness of breath, or chest pain.

A study published in 2018 found that heart attack risk spiked by 15 percent during the Christmas and New Year holiday, and also increased after New Year’s Eve and other holidays. Aside from alcohol consumption, increased stress, disrupted sleep patterns, and indulging in unhealthy foods and drinks during the holidays can also put added strain on the heart.

Fortunately, there are simple steps to prevent holiday heart syndrome:

1. Be conscious of how much alcohol you’re drinking. A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in:

  • 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
  • 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
  • 5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)

Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. Note that this refers to the amount consumed on any single day and not as an average over several days.


2. Alcohol intake can cause dehydration. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.


3. Limit your intake of salty chips and other “bar foods” that are often served with alcohol. Salty foods combined with alcohol can significantly increase blood pressure.


4. Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.


5. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.



Shop for your heart health medicine online. Click here. Talk to your doctor for more information about how to stay heart healthy this holiday season!




https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-to-know-about-holiday-heart-syndrome#Alcohol-and-heart-health. Accessed 27 October 2020
https://www.hawaiipacifichealth.org/healthier-hawaii/live-healthy/what-is-holiday-heart-syndrome/#:~:text=Seuss%20book.-,Holiday%20heart%20syndrome%20is%20the%20occurrence%20of%20an%20irregular%20heartbeat,t%20have%20underlying%20heart%20disease. Accessed 27 October 2020
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/12/health/holiday-heart-syndrome-wellness/index.html. Accessed 27 October 2020
https://www.kcbd.com/2019/12/14/how-avoid-holiday-heart-syndrome/. Accessed 27 October 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm. Accessed 27 October 2020
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-needs-get-the-sleep-you-need.htm#:~:text=While%20sleep%20requirements%20vary%20slightly,least%20seven%20hours%20of%20sleep. Accessed 27 October 2020

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