Totally OT: Holiday drinking

Do you drink more and work out less during the holiday season? Beware of “holiday heart syndrome,” alcohol-induced atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, which is a rapid, chaotic heart rhythm. More people die from heart attacks between Christmas and New Year’s Day than any other period throughout the year.

It’s critical to seek out care if you have a persistent racing heartbeat and chest pain, or if you’re struggling to breathe. Dizziness and feeling lightheaded or confused can also indicate a cardiac issue.

I don’t drink, personally, because alcohol doesn’t agree with me. This is a public service message for METARs. Stay healthy, friends!



Thanks Wendy!!! I’ll drink to that!!!



Living in the Sonoma/Napa/Mendocino area, so not only wine, but great craft breweries, and even some distilleries in the mix, we do tend to do a bit of sampling of the local wares this time of year, family has everything from wine collections, to their own vineyard where we’ve helped press and bottle many cases, to just larger collections of all manner of temptations, Lowlans, Highland scotches at times… Tough to avoid, maybe not even trying to avoid much, personally.

That said, I don’t think this was caused by alcohol, but DW’s Apple Watch caught her A-Fib condition earlier in the year, leading to her cardiologist taking a look atop he data, and continuing to monitor her situation, Rx to settle things down, but then a slow heart rate as well at times, the Watch can set the alarm limits, so it’s one more tool to hopefully avid ongoing problems, so she is 98% non drinking, a little taste from time to time…

My Apple watch is an earlier model 5, her’s a 6, so I’m considering moving up a couple notches, they keep getting better…

(Yes, I an a longtime AAPL investor, but this surprised us.)



They frown at the meetings if I drink. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Yep…Holiday Heart Syndrome…or Saturday Night Arrhythmia. Doesn’t have to be binge drinking to cause it either. I had my first episode of Afib May of 2017. Paroxysmal for about 18 months. None of the Usual Suspects (especially heavy drinking) such as overweight/obesity, high BP etc. I switched to decaf coffee and made minor changes…making sure to stay hydrated as we’d moved to Colorado in the Fall of 2016 and it takes a while to realise how dehydrating high altitude can be AND how much more sensitive to alcohol that can make you.

Oddly enough, I was thinking about this on my way home from my daughter’s this evening and thinking of the various social engagements coming up and all the opportunities to drink too much. December of 2018 was busy in our nabe with cookie swaps (with wine) various parties and get togethers (with wine) …nothing excessive but more than usual and starting a few days before Christmas, I was in and out of Afib right over the holiday. I’d thought it meant that it was becoming chronic and, as a last ditch effort to prevent that, I decided to dump the booze completely as anexperiment. Haven’t had a single episode since…even after stopping the beta blockers a few months later. I’d noticed before, per my Garmin, that just a single glas of wine bumped my resting heart rate up for 2 or 3 days…presumably the metabolites as much as the ethanol…so a few more parties than usual was all it took, apparently.

It’s amazing how much folk drink…and I think it’s an increasing problem not just me noticing more. Happening at younger ages too. Apart from Coors, we have 6 or 7 craft breweries here in Golden and they’re busy.


Ah, but do you SHARE !!!

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Oh everyone here knows I share.

I get very little in return. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

I’m so glad that I never developed a taste for alcohol.

What scared me away from alcohol was the English teacher I had in 7th grade, who was fired and replaced as a result of being caught with alcohol in the classroom. I don’t recall actually seeing her drunk, but some people did. That teacher was living proof of the things we learned in health classes over the years about the dangers of alcohol. If alcoholism could happen to her, it could happen to me.

Because the experience of my 7th grade English teacher has been in the back of my mind for all these years, I was never a big drinker. Additionally, I didn’t like the burning sensation in my throat the few times I tried drinking alcoholic beverages. The sour/bitter taste of beer turned me off.

I’ve always been lighter than most other people, so that means it doesn’t take much alcohol to get me drunk. I once drank two-and-a-half strawberry daiquiri beers in one sitting. (Fortunately, I was at home.) Although I was (according to the formulas) merely near the legal driving limit, I had to lie down, I felt dizzy, and I had difficulty focusing on the rented movie I was watching. (Admittedly, that was a lousy movie.) I never before or since have consumed anything close to that amount of alcohol at once.

I’m guessing that the only people who drink less than I do are Mormons. The fact that they’re known for longevity speaks positively about their avoidance of alcohol and tobacco. (I never tried tobacco and never will. It’s so disgusting that I wouldn’t try it if it were healthy.)


More on Afib…

…or rather changes one can make to reduce risk of developing it in the first place and mitigating it if you have it.

And on alcohol and Afib specifically…

…because you never know. It’s the commonest cardiac arrhythmia to affect Man and Beast and it’s probably the condition unfamiliar to the greatest number in spite of that.


Wendy…an example of the notion that there’s no such thing as a topic that’s OT to absolutely everyone who reads it, I think you deserve an extra 10 recs for this thread start since, in scrolling through Anthony Pearson’s (Skeptical Cardiologist) articles via the hyperlinks** contained, I stumbled across this gem

Since my discovery that I’m teetering on the brink of cardiac crippledom…maybe…I’ve become super interested in cardiovascular fitness and aging. For me personally, how on Earth can I do what I do with no signs or symptoms of what appears to be significant underlying pathology? Or, more specifically how long can I expect it to continue/how to facilitate that.

**Edit…don’t skip the Rockport Walking Test hyperlink in the first paragraph. I actually use a Garmin Forerunner 45S…more of a sport specific tool than the Apple. Gives me a VO2MAX readout together with guesstimated fitness age.

This is all in keeping with my Peter Attia podcast listening but sans paywall.

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I’ve long been aware of Afib and tachycardia issues as my Dad (passed about 20 years ago) was one of the first patients to have a Medtronic ICD (Internal Cardiac Defibrillator) device implanted into his body. The cause of his fib was due to lots of scar tissue as a result of quadruple bypass surgery in prior years that left his heart pretty weak and he had many stray cardiac electrical impulses. He was not a drinker nor a cigarette smoker - but he did enjoy “Dutch Masters” cigars every once in a while.

His cardiologist in Boston was one of the first doctors to do the research on Afib and other cardio electrophysiology treatments. The first version of his ICD was so large that it was implanted in his abdomen just below the skin and the leads were fished up through the groin and into his heart.

The battery life back then (1990’s) was not that great, and he needed a second one after about 3 years. His second one was implanted into his shoulder with new leads that were fished directly to his heart through the aorta.

After living for a number of years with his second one, he was fitted with a third one which was much smaller and implanted where the other one was, in his shoulder. That surgery did not go so well and he quickly slid down the path of no return. His heart was giving out and the ICD would fire fairly often - which was very painful. He lived in constant fear of it going off at any time - so he was unable to drive or do other things that he enjoyed like doing light yard work.

In the end, when he did pass, I asked the doctor if the ICD would continue to go off trying to restart his heart, and I’ll always remember what the doctor said to me, “Dead meat don’t beat”. The ICD was programmed to know when the heart had stopped and would no longer try to restart it.

This is amazing technology, and it has come very far in the past 25 years. Here’s what Medtronic offers today in the complete line up of ICDs.

Here’s a manual for one of these ICDs. Quite an interesting read!!

==> Has an Apple watch that looks out for potential Afib and is thankful for it.


Yes, wearables have come a long way in the last couple of decades.

The family Cardiologist (daughter is a veterinary Cardiologist) keeps me well appraised on the updates in the medcal devices field…she diagnosed both my Afib and her dad’s about to dissect aortic aneurysm with her mobile equipment and hauled us off to the ER promptly.

She was going to surprise me with an Apple watch for Christmas a couple of years ago, even though I didn’t want one, purely because that was the only show in town for Afib detection in a wearable at the time (I use a Kardia Moble unit for double checking) She decided that, based on my reaction to it, on the go detection would probably add more to my stress level than it would solve…and predispose to making the problem worse.

I don’t think implantable AEDs are common in vet medicine but she does do a fair bit of pacemaker placement. It’s quite routine for her. Who knew?

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I suspect that this reaction goes away within a week or two. I hadn’t worn a watch at all since I left the army ~25 years ago, and don’t like wearing anything on my wrist (or neck, etc). No jewelry, and I even removed my wedding band may years ago. But I did buy an Apple watch last year thinking that I would very likely return it within 2 weeks. But I wanted to try it out. Anyway, it was lighter than expected, less obtrusive than expected, less anxiety inducing than expected, and simply generally quite comfortable. I got used to it in a week. Now I wear it 23 hours a day, and it charges during the other hour. It tracks a lot of good things for me, and is generally quite useful. In fact, I opted to take part in all the [male] studies that can be opted into, and they alone are quite good in terms of putting me more in sync with my general health and general daily activity. Net net, it’s a HUGE positive in my life.

There are also other tech items that improve ones life. For example, my dad uses his iPhone to automatically control his hearing aids. They sense the location (from the phone GPS) and then adjust appropriately. For example, it knows that you are at your favorite movie theater and adjusts the hearing aids for that type of sound. It knows when you are at services and adjusts. It knows when you are moving in the car. Etc.