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Doctors say rich holiday foods can cause stress on your heart this season

WSBT 22 photo

Glazed hams, pot roast, gingerbread houses, cranberry sauce, and don't forget the wine! There are so many tasty treats around the holidays.

All of those rich foods can put a lot of stress on your heart.

Doctors call it Holiday Heart Syndrome, but don't let the cheery name fool you -- this condition can be dangerous.

There are things you can do to keep yourself out of the hospital this holiday season.

"We are in a festive mood,” said Ram Khattri Chettri, Service Line Administrator for Heart and Vascular Services at Goshen Health. “We have family visiting. There’s lots of wonderful treats to have. It’s a celebration of many wonderful things that we enjoy."

Khattri Chettri is a Family Nurse Practitioner with Goshen Heart and Vascular Center. He says those things we love to eat and drink can lead to Holiday Heart Syndrome.

"Sometimes during the holidays when we have taken on too much salt, taking on too much alcohol, taking on too much calories and the body is having to work extra to process all of that excess food and drinks," said Khattri Chettri.

The symptoms will happen right as you finish your meal.

"Their heart rate is a little bit faster,” said Khattri Chettri. “They might feel a bit heavy. They might feel congested and it's something to be mindful about during the holidays, how much were consuming both in terms of calories and in terms of alcohol."

A person who exercises regularly and keeps a healthy diet might not even notice their elevated heart rate.

"But a person who is fairly sedentary and doesn’t exercise on a regular basis, for that person to go from 60 bpm to 110 might feel like a stress,” said Khattri Chettri.

That stress could lead to something much more dangerous, like a heart attack or stroke.

"Moderation is probably the best solution during the holidays," said Khattri Chettri.

Khattri Chettri says you should also be careful about shoveling your drive and walks. Again, if you're not a person who regularly exercises, shoveling snow can be a big stresser on your heart.

He says you should listen to your doctor, especially if you're already on diet and exercise plans.

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