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Holiday Heart Healthy Tips

4:38 PM, Dec 11, 2012   |    comments
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Healthy Heart

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Taking care of your health during the holiday season is often the last thing on the To Do list. Here's why even healthy people need to watch out for Holiday Heart Syndrome.

December can really throw our schedule off, you're not getting enough sleep so you drink caffeine to keep you going which dehydrates you, and you may be drinking more alcohol than usual.

Holiday Heart Syndrome is an irregular heartbeat lasting anywhere from an hour to 24 hours. It can make you think you're having a heart attack with symptoms like palpitations, nausea and sweating.

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi, an Electrophysiologist with Spectrum Health's Meijer Heart Center, stresses that too much alcohol is usually the trigger, "We all think of alcohol as being toxic to the liver and otherwise relatively benign, but it can be very toxic to the heart muscle and that's probably one of the things that leads to these fast heart rates."

Dr. Elmouchi says if this happens to you and it lasts longer than 24 hours you should seek emergency medical care.

Are you looking for some heart healthy gifts?

Here are some ideas for you:

For children, think about how to keep them active. Gifts like baseballs and bicycles, even a new sled can give them the exercise they need and help establish healthy habits for life.

For adults, why not some winter walking gear? Cardiologist Dr. Gina Lundberg says it will help to encourage them to stay active even in the cold months, "Not everybody's ready for an exercise program. Some people just need to start with walking. A great way to log how many steps you take a day is a pedometer. Ten-thousand steps a day is ideal, but you could start with a much lower number."

And if you've got someone who is really stressed out on your list, maybe some candles or a gift certificate for a massage or mani/pedi will really help them relax.

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