Holiday Heart Syndrome

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 Day through New Year's Day because of increased stress and consumption of alcohol, salt, etc.

One cardiovascular issue seen often this time of year is "Holiday Heart Syndrome."

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey teamed up with Dr. David FitzPatrick at Commonwealth Health's Heart & Vascular Institute to take a closer look at what this all entails.

Doctors say "Holiday Heart Syndrome" first came about in the 1970s 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.

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

Health professionals stress that any chest related symptom of concern should really be looked at by a doctor.