Too much can lead to "holiday heart syndrome". PICTURE: Scene from The Hangover
Christmas is fast approaching as too is the party season for many people, and this means the amount of alcohol we consume as a nation at this time of the year will inevitably increase. 

The only problem with the festive season is that it can often be a time of excess, both when it comes to eating and drinking and too much drinking can cause serious complications. 

According to heart medication supplier Pharma Dynamics, one of the complications people can experience due to excessive drinking is “holiday heart syndrome”, which can cause palpitations and irregular hear arrhythmias.
Spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, Nicole Jennings describes “holiday heart syndrome” as a condition which typically occurs during the holidays when people who don’t suffer from heart disease experience irregular heart rhythms following heavy alcohol consumption.

“The effect of alcohol on the heart generally depends on your age, health, the volume and the pattern of your drinking. 

"Excessive alcohol consumption over time can increase your risk of stroke, weaken the heart muscle and render it less efficient at pumping blood to vital organs. 

"Blood pressure also increases with each standard alcoholic drink, which contains roughly 10 – 16g of alcohol depending on the liquor of your choice”, she said. 

Here are Jennings tips to help your heart survive the festive season cheer:
  • Limit your alcohol intake: Especially if you have congenital heart disease or have an increased risk of heart disease as a result of obesity, smoking, high cholesterol or hypertension. 
  • Don’t overeat: During the holidays either and try to reduce your salt intake. Too much salt could cause water retention and an increase in blood pressure, putting you at greater risk of a heart attack.
  • Lay low on coffee: Energy drinks and fizzy drinks as they all contain caffeine which can act as a heart stimulant and cause AF. 
  • Stay hydrated: By drinking plenty of water. A sudden change in eating patterns and physical exertion (common during the summer holidays) can result in dehydration. When at a party be sure to eat something before taking alcohol and remember to drink enough water in between drinks since alcohol strips water from the body.