The 8 signs of killer Christmas heart condition that you must NEVER ignore
THE festive season is all about indulging in our favourite food and drinks.
But experts have warned caution and say that overdoing it with the eggnog or mulled wine could trigger a deadly heart condition.If you’ve been hitting the booze hard this Christmas then you could be at risk of a deadly condition[/caption]
Senior lecturer in chemical pathology at the University of Westminster, David C Gaze said ‘holiday heart syndrome’ could lead to a heart attack if it’s left untreated.
He explained that it’s a condition where the heart beats abnormally – known as atrial fibrillation or AF.
People who have this will often experience a fluttering in the chest, but he warned that ignoring it could be deadly.
A normal heart rate should be regular and between 60 and 100 beats a minute when you’re resting.
But when you have AF, it becomes irregular and can reach considerably higher than 100 beats per minute.
AF can sometimes not cause any noticeable symptoms, and someone with an irregular or quickened heart rate may not realise they have the condition.
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While scientists aren’t sure how common the condition is, they say it usually comes on after drinking too much booze.
Mr Gaze said that the condition is rare in people under the age of 30.
He said: “Isolated episodes of it in the young are often attributed to endurance exercise, recreational drug use and obesity.
“However, the most common cause is binge drinking”, he said writing in The Conversation.
One study conducted in Copenhagen found over a thousand cases of AF in men and women when they analysed 16,500 people.
They found that heavy alcohol use was present in five percent of the men analysed and that the condition was 1.5 per cent higher in people who were binge drinkers – compared to those who didn’t drink at all, and those who drank moderately.
Mr Gaze said that it’s unclear why drinking booze is related to arrhythmia but that it may be a direct toxic effect of alcohol on the cells of the heart muscle or indirect toxic effects from breakdown products (metabolites) either on the heart itself or other organs, such as the endocrine adrenal glands, which are located on the top of each kidney.
He said that there are several reasons as to why this might happen.
The different types of atrial fibrillation
A normal heart rate should be regular and between 60 and 100 beats a minute when you're resting.
Different types of atrial fibrillation include:
- Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation – episodes come and go, and usually stop within 48 hours without any treatment
- Persistent atrial fibrillation – each episode lasts for longer than 7 days (or less when it’s treated)
- Long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation – where you have had continuous atrial fibrillation for a year or longer
- Permanent atrial fibrillation – where atrial fibrillation is present all the time
“First, alcohol interferes with the nerve conduction in the heart, altering the rate of nerve signal transmission across the heart muscle.
“Second, alcohol can increase the release of adrenaline from either the adrenal glands or the heart tissue, which can change the heartbeat leading to arrhythmia.
“Third, fatty acids in the blood increase following alcohol consumption and are thought to be associated with the development of AF.
“Lastly, the alcohol metabolite acetaldehyde can increase the rate of abnormal muscle contraction).”
KNOW THE SIGNS
It’s important that you recognise the symptoms of AF as it can lead to a heart attack.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic say these are the signs you need to know:
- Sensations of a fast, fluttering or pounding heartbeat (palpitations)
- Chest pain
- Reduced ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath
Mr Gaze added that both the public and doctors need to be aware of the effects of alcohol on the heart – especially in those who do not show signs of classical heart diseases.
It’s one of the biggest killers of Brits and it can creep up on you as the symptoms can often be disguised as other issues.
But what are the classical signs of heart disease that you need to know?
- Chest pain
- Feeling sick
- Stomach pain
- Feeling sweaty
- Leg pain
- Arm pain
- Jaw or back pain
- Choking sensation
- Swollen ankles
- Extreme fatigue
- Irregular heartbeat
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