Can too much holiday cheer land you in the hospital?
7 Healthcast: Can too much holiday cheer land you in the hospital?
Dr. Tom Tallman of the Cleveland Clinic estimates about a third of patients who come into his emergency room between Thanksgiving and New Year's have something called "Holiday Heart Syndrome."
It affects those who aren't used to drinking very much who then over-indulge in alcohol during holiday get-togethers.
Their heart rate speeds up and becomes irregular.
"Blood pressure can drop, and you can get lightheaded, as well as having the chest pain or shortness of breath," Dr. Tallman explains.
Feeling like they're having a heart attack, they head to the emergency room only to discover it was the alcohol that caused the problem.
Drinking while on cough and cold medicine can have the same effect.
The problem usually goes away within 24 hours without any long-term damage, but doctors say it's always good to get heart symptoms checked out, just in case.
(Copyright 2011 NBC News Channel. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)