For many a party-goer, New Year’s Eve is an excuse to tie one on- but it’s important to know too much alcohol can be harmful to your heart.

“Severe alcohol use especially during the holiday season - there’s this kind of strange phenomenon called the holiday heart when everyone eats their salted pork, drink their beer then they kind of just go into this rhythm heart failure for a while,” says Dr. Roshan Vattyham, cardiologist with Lee Memorial Health System.

When people binge drink, they dehydrate themselves and deplete their bodies of necessary electrolytes. It can trigger a heart condition called atrial fibrillation.

“And what that can cause is the top part is a little out of synch from the bottom part and it can cause some fast heart rate and irregular heart rates. Some patients don’t feel it at all but the ones who really feel it will say my heart is racing or it feels something like a jackhammer. Some will feel dizziness, fatigue or something is just not quite right,” says Dr. Vattyham.

Overdoing it is risky for people with known heart conditions, but it is also a danger for the social drinkers who might over-indulge during the holidays. Especially if they over eat which can cause blood pressure to rise.

“The main thing you worry about, it can lead to stroke and patients who don’t even feel it probably are at more risk,” says Dr. Vattyham.

In a healthy person, the fibrillation is fleeting. If someone has a history of heart problems, they should be resolute this New Year’s Eve and avoid being too merry.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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