According to MSNBC with all the studies touting the health benefits of alcohol, you might be thinking you can imbibe with abandon this holiday season. Not so fast, experts say.
In fact, doctors have even given a name to what can happen when people overindulge at festive times: Holiday Heart Syndrome.
Binge drinkers have twice the risk
After accounting for factors such as age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and Body Mass Index, the researchers determined that those who drank heavily, but irregularly, had twice the risk of heart attack and/or death as regular drinkers.
As for the long term effects of Irish and French patterns of alcohol consumption, experts suggest several factors might be coming into play. First, there is the impact of moderate drinking on lipids, says Dr. Nehal Mehta, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Inflammatory Risk Clinic, Preventive Cardiology. The theory is that moderate levels of alcohol stimulate the liver to produce more HDL, the good kind of cholesterol, Mehta explains.
Beyond that, there's the effect of alcohol on blood pressure, says Counihan, the University of Pittsburgh professor. Binge drinking has been associated with spiking blood pressure levels.
But there may be other factors related to drinking patterns that help explain the differences between the French and the Irish, experts say.
People in Ireland are more likely to consume alcohol in pubs, where closing times may spark higher — and more stressful — consumption. .
In contrast, the French usually drink wine during dinner, often at home in a relaxed social setting. That may lead to more calming effect, Counihan says.
In the meantime, experts agree, it might make sense to toast the season more like the French than the Irish.
One of the most obvious effects of excessive alcohol consumption is weight gain. During the holidays. It is easy to overindulge and forget that it is likely to end up on your midsection. Dr. O'Toole has many patients who take advantage of the liposuction procedure of the abdomen in January so that they are healed and ready for swimsuit season by the summer. Provided the patient has not gained excessive weight with loose and lax skin, liposuction can be an excellent solution.
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