Avoiding “Holiday Heart Syndrome”

Avoiding “Holiday Heart Syndrome”

by Cole Home Health

The holiday season is the perfect time of the year to enjoy friends, family, festivities, and fun. During this time it is especially important that you are aware of ways to take care of your “heart”. Coined “Holiday Heart Syndrome”, this time of year also may lend itself to indulging in too much alcohol and salty foods which may put you at risk. As a healthcare system in Houston, we see this all too often. The following recommendations will increase your chances of remaining heart healthy this holiday season.

Healthy Tips for this Holiday Season:

1.    Maintain a healthy-heart diet:

Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Have your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and take your time eating. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering. Watch eating too many sugary treats, salty meals, and high calorie beverages these choices can elevate blood sugar levels, blood pressure and increase water retention. If you overeat at one meal go light at your next meal or the following day.

3.    Say goodbye to bad habits:

If you smoke, decide to quit smoking now. Decrease alcohol and caffeine intake. Binging on alcohol during the holiday season can increase your risk of developing heart rhythm abnormalities such as atrial fibrillation, may cause dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances.

2.    Engage in daily exercise:
Although the days are shorter and colder it is still important to engage in daily physical activity. This will help reduce stress, lower the risk of depression, and contributes to a heart healthy lifestyle. Participate in activities you enjoy (walking, riding a stationary bicycle, indoor swimming, or dancing).

4.    Don’t rush, take your time, and become organized:

Pace yourself and plan ahead, prioritize those things by using a “to do” list for those things that must get done over those things that can wait.

5.    Sleep and rest:
Getting six to eight hours of sleep each night is important for reducing stress and gives you the energy your body needs.

6.    Volunteer:
Volunteering is a way to give back and help others in need.

7.    Laughter is the best medicine:

There are many benefits to laughter: laughing can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve alertness. Enjoy your favorite movie, book, program, or hobby, just remember to take the time to laugh.

One Response to “Avoiding “Holiday Heart Syndrome””

  1. Kristal says:

    Excellent points. I have nixed a couple of these habits, but find myself and family far too often rushing. I never thought about, how that might cause higher blood pressure. I often find myself in the pre-hypertensive range. I check blood pressure often while at the store. When I first sit and check , I find myself in the prehypertensive range. But on the second check I am in the normal range. It varies. I have started eating more fiber to help as well. I also have a theory , and found some info to substantiate it, that when you are not hydrated that it may contribute to higher blood pressure.

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