Holiday Heart Syndrome

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

It's the time of year when cardiologists around the country and in our area hold their breath! Experts say there's typically a spike in heart attacks Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. It all stems from something called "Holiday Heart Syndrome."

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey tackled this topic Thursday. He teamed up with Geisinger Community Center's Chief of Cardiology Dr. Steve Voyce in Scranton.

As for "Holiday Heart Syndrome," Dr. Voyce says the condition first came about in 1978 and was described as a "fast, irregular heartbeat" attributed to excessive alcohol intake around the holidays. Causes of "Holiday Heart Syndrome" include too much food, booze, caffeine, and nicotine.

Over the past decade or so, the term has become broader and has included more heart-related diseases that spike during the holiday season such as heart attacks and heart failure. Sometimes people confuse a heart attack with heartburn.

Dr. Voyce says if you experience "chest pressure that radiates to the neck or arms, shortness of breath, sweating/nausea, "that's more suggestive of heart attack and you should get to an emergency room.

Experts say any chest related symptom of concern should really be looked at by a doctor.