Warning Signs of Holiday Heart Syndrome


There is a phenomenon that casts a shadow over the joy of the holidays. Often called “holiday heart syndrome,” the reality of the situation is not as festive or fun as the titles may imply. In fact, suffering from this condition can cause the holiday spirit to quickly shift.

So, what is holiday heart, if not the tremendous joy that fills your chest around the holidays? Unfortunately, it is not the coronary condition of the Grinch when he finally understands the beauty of the season; rather, it is a disturbing pattern of increased heart-related issues that occurs between Christmas and New Year’s Day, specifically an irregular heartbeat resulting from increased alcohol consumption.

The factors that contribute to holiday heart are many, especially if you have underlying conditions, but the most common cause is the heavy drinking often associated with the holidays. Check out the risk factors and symptoms below and be sure to take steps to combat them.

Symptoms of Holiday Heart Syndrome

Recognizing the symptoms of holiday heart is essential in nipping problems in the bud before they evolve into more serious issues. While this syndrome does typically resolve itself if there are no preexisting heart conditions or a history of heart problems, you should take the warning signs seriously. If you experience any of these warning signs, contact your doctor and utilize emergency services if necessary.

Chest Pain

Heart problems often manifest themselves as chest pain. Holiday heart syndrome is no different, so be aware of this symptom and do not neglect to listen to your body when it gives you this clear warning sign of the condition.

Difficulty Breathing

Trouble breathing or catching your breath could be a warning. Holiday heart syndrome is often accompanied by labored or challenging breathing—this symptom is not something to ignore or write off as happenstance.


The irregular heartbeat related to holiday heart, also known as alcohol-induced atrial arrhythmias, can cause dizziness. If you do not typically experience dizziness and find this symptom accompanied by an unusual heart rhythm, you may be suffering from holiday heart syndrome.

Passing Out

Anytime someone loses consciousness, it is vital to take it seriously. Often, there is an underlying reason for such an occurrence. In the case of holiday heart syndrome, losing consciousness is a telltale sign that should be addressed.

Stay heart healthy this holiday season by knowing the risks of holiday heart, recognizing the warning signs, and acting accordingly. While this syndrome does not always result in long-term or serious problems, adverse outcomes are possible. If you are concerned or find yourself suffering from potential cardiovascular problems, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor. They will address the concerns you have, help you avoid poor heart health, and aid you in recovery if necessary.

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