Holiday Heart Syndrome

Holiday Heart Syndrome is an irregular heartbeat pattern presented in individuals who are otherwise healthy. Coined in 1978[1] the term can be defined as "arrhythmias of the heart, sometimes following excessive alcohol consumption; usually temporary".

The Holiday Heart Syndrome can be the result of stress, dehydration, and drinking alcohol. Although sometimes associated with binge drinking, the condition can also occur when individuals consume only moderate amounts of alcohol. People who rarely drink at home will reach for a glass on holiday may suddenly suffer an unexpected reaction. In severe cases, it can even cause heart failure.
The problem is quite distinct from the well-known issues surrounding excessive consumption of alcohol, such as liver damage, reduced fertility, high blood pressure and increased risk of various cancers and heart attack.

Due to the lack of proper research, the exact cause of the problem is still unknown. More than any other alcoholic bevarages, red wine seems especially linked to the syndrome. It exacerbates rosacea considerably, possibly as a result of the additives in red wine, such as tannins, sulphites or colourants.

[1] Ettinger et al: Arrhythmias and the "Holiday Heart": alcohol-associated cardiac rhythm disorders in American Heart Journal - 1978

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