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Medical Edge: Holiday Heart Syndrome

Updated: Monday, December 16 2013, 11:39 PM EST
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- As Christmas approaches, experts at Saint Elizabeth Medical Center have some important reminders for all of us about how to avoid holiday heart syndrome.
The season of stress, shopping, eating, and celebration can take its toll on those with a history of heart problems.

Heart patient Larry Warkoczeski says, "I had a rapid heartbeat, and then found out that I needed a quadruple heart bypass."
But even if you don't have a heart problems, so many people wind up in the emergency room with  hearth rhythm changes this time of year. Many experts now refer to the collection of these seasonal symptoms as holiday heart syndrome.
To avoid it, Larry  takes extra care by "making sure that I am following the right exercise, the right diet."
A good thing says his cardiologist Doctor D.P. Suresh, he also says keep tabs on your blood pressure this time of year. "The top number to be around one twenty, the bottom number should be about 80."
Doctor Suresh says you are often at risk for heart symptoms this time of year if you have a family history of this disease.

"If your father your brother your sister has heart disease, chances are you are going to have it too."
He suggests you avoid excessive salt, fatty foods and alcohol to lower the odds of holiday heart syndrome symptoms. In addition to that however, there are a few seasonal foods that are actually exceptionally good for you, so these are the ones that you might want to add in this time of year.
For example, Christmas oranges are great for extra fiber. Clementines are good for  vitamin C. Pomegranates are packed with powerful antioxidants. Chestnuts are loaded with good fats for the heart. Finally, dark chocolate in moderation is your best pick if you need a sweet treat.
You also might want to find someone to hold you accountable to stay active.

Which Larry Warkoczeski says works wonders, "Definitely, I have a personal trainer I have been working with and shes been awesome."

All this is the formula to avoid holiday heart syndrome and have a healthy holiday instead.

Video HEREMedical Edge: Holiday Heart Syndrome

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