Avoid Holiday Heart Syndrome

The holidays are supposed to be a time of fun and family. But it often includes stress, which could lead to heart problems.

Holiday Heart Syndrome is typical during the holidays. It's when your heartbeat is irregular due to stress, alcohol, or dehydration.

"We've also kind of stretched that definition to include patients who have a weakened heart, have heart failure. And when we have the holidays, they might increase salt intake, they might increase alcohol consumption and that can put them into heart failure," cardiologist Dr. Steve Krause said.

Cardiologist Steve Krause says it's okay to indulge a little during the holidays but make sure everything's in moderation.

"Even if you don't have heart disease you're at increased risk of heart palpitations and arrhythmias around the holidays. Watch your alcohol consumption, and make sure you stay well hydrated and try to avoid stress which is hard to do over the holidays," Dr. Krause explained.

Having just one heart palpitation, or extra heart beat, isn't particularly dangerous, but if you start having them frequently, you should go see your doctor -- no matter your age.

"There's not necessarily an age group for the skipped heart beats or the arrhythmias but patients who have pre-existing heart disease, which tends to be folks who are a little bit older, can suffer from it. But, I've seen it in young people too who have had a lot of alcohol or we state stressed or dehydrated," Krause said.

Make sure if you are drinking this holiday season you stay hydrated.

One good way to do that is alternate between alcohol drinks and a glass of water.