Holiday Heart Syndrome: Reduce Your Risk

Hearts are full this time of year as families gather together for celebrations. We might say our hearts are at peace or overflowing with delight. It’s a special time of year — but it also proves to be a dangerous season for our hearts.

Holiday heart syndrome is a pattern of irregular heartbeat that shows up in otherwise healthy people. The trend is not imaginary. Research shows a rise in heart attacks during the holiday season.

Why Does Holiday Heart Syndrome Occur?

holiday heart syndrome

Between November and January, both nonfatal and fatal cases of heart disease and heart attack rise. More people are admitted to the hospital with heart complications and more people die from heart-related conditions. There are several reasons that might explain this increase.

1. Increased alcohol consumption

People tend to have more parties, get-togethers and family gatherings during the winter months. With more parties comes more opportunities to have alcoholic drinks. Excessive drinking poses dangerous risks for your heart health. It can cause changes in your heart’s normal rhythm or depress heart function.

2.  Cold weather

As the temperature drops, our hearts are strained. Too much physical exertion in the cold weather can trigger a heart attack.

3. Stress and diet

Holiday gatherings tend to revolve around full plates of food. Dishing up high-sodium, artery-clogging foods puts additional stress on our hearts. Eating too much, in combination with emotional stress, creates a harsh environment for the heart.

How can I Reduce the Risk of Holiday Heart Syndrome?

No one wants to believe that a heart condition could sneak up during the holiday season. The thing about this syndrome, however, is that it often occurs in people who consider themselves relatively healthy.

All of us, no matter what our heart disease risk is, should take steps to protect our hearts. Let’s take these steps not only during the holiday season, but all year. Monitoring your heart health all year is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle.

1. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption. It’s way too easy to go overboard at the company party or have a heavy hand while pouring a cocktail. Give yourself a limit and stick to it. Focus on enjoying the event rather than pounding your drink on the way back to the bar.

2. Be careful when you exert energy outdoors this winter. Physical activities, like shoveling heavy snow, can put an extreme amount of strain on your heart. Wear layers, go slow and take breaks when you’re working or playing outside in the cold.

3. Moderation is key during the holidays. Start balancing out your routine by adding light periods of exercise every day. Enjoy the holiday meals, but remember to keep your diet balanced. The stress and dietary changes impact you quickly, so it’s important not to overdo it.



  1. Holidays seem like a great time to indulge in relaxation. Over doing alcohol consumption can easily derail that relaxation. Being mindful is definitely a great start to knowing your limits.

  2. Holidays are a hard time to diet. Be aware of what you’re eating and know your risks.

  3. Your heart is important. Everybody knows this. There are many things you can do to improve it’s health, but educating yourself is a great start. These are some very helpful tips to live by.

  4. Health is a huge concern for a number of people, so having awareness about what you’re doing to your body is extremely important. This is great information.

  5. There are so many events scheduled around this time of year. Alcohol will easily rise around a lot of these events, so knowing your limit and being mindful are absolutely great tips.

  6. Heart disease is one of the most common deaths year after year. You should be mindful of everything you’re consuming during the holiday season.

Speak Your Mind