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Holiday heart syndrome a concern for Borderland residents

EL PASO, Texas -- The yams, the ham and perhaps event the tamales might have to be put on hold for some people this holiday season.

Holiday heart syndrome is an irregular heartbeat issue caused by excessive drinking along with stress and dehydration.

It frequently causes atrial fibrillation, a heart rhythm disorder, and could ruin a family's holiday season.

“Many people are not even aware that they have a cardiac condition," said Dr. Oscar Munoz, who works as an interventional cardiologist at the Del Sol Medical Center. "If you are 25 or older, have your doctor check you and your heart out regularly, at least once a year.”

There is no single cause of holiday heart syndrome. However it is easily beatable with better life decisions and habits.

“It really is a cluster of conditions that are associated with the excesses that we have during the holiday like the excess of food and lack of sleeping and drugs," Munoz said.

It’s a common concern but one made all the scarier by the current state of Borderland hospitals with Covid still around.

“I would invite anyone to come to the hospital and see the disasters that we have seen in the past month," Munoz said. "It is horrible and the capacity of the hospital has been duplicated twice.”

Also, with New Year's now just days away, the heart healthy move for those in the 25 and above club is to keep a small circle until those Covid-19 vaccines have more time to make the rounds.

“That is true," Munoz said. "Especially this year with this special situation so do not ask too many people to join in the partying."

Other symptoms of  holiday heart syndrome  may include palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness. 

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon is a former ABC-7 reporter who co-anchored Good Morning El Paso weekends.


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