Do you have 'Holiday Heart Syndrome'?

Condition induced by stress, alcohol over the holidays

SAN ANTONIO – Are you overwhelmed by the holidays?

Are you stressed, and drinking and eating more than you normally do?

They are signs of what doctors call "Holiday Heart Syndrome."

The syndrome can happen to anyone, even if they have a healthy heart. It's triggered by stress and alcohol, and makes your heart beat three to four times faster than normal.

Five million people suffer from the condition in the U.S. alone.

"What they'll say is, 'Doc, my heart is beating fast. It's beating irregularly, I just don’t feel right,'" Dr. Sandeep Sagar, a cardiac electrophysiologist at the Univesity of Texas Science Center, said.

The technical term for what patients are feeling is atrial fibrillation, Sagar said.

The rapid heartbeat can lead to a stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

"We treat this condition very commonly here and we operate almost on a daily basis on patients who have atrial fibrillation," Sagar said.

Patients don't always have to go under the knife.

If you're drinking on New Year’s Eve, listen to your body before you go for another drink.

"What data has shown is that individuals who drink more than six drinks, the risk of atrial fibrillation increases," Sagar said.

Doctor's orders: Do yourself a favor and try to drink less.