Media Contact: Kate Deely
Smith (619) 543-6163
Daniel Blanchard, M.D., UCSD
Cardiovascular Center, Associate Professor of Cardiology
for some people the holidays can be heartwarming they can also be
harmful for the heart. The Holiday Heart Syndrome is the association
between excessive alcohol consumption and rapid cardiac beating Ė or
arrhythmia - in a person who otherwise has a healthy heart.
Holiday Heart Syndrome occurs
in people who both regularly consume a lot of alcohol as well as those
who usually drink little or no alcohol, but who have an alcohol binge
or drink in excess, which can be common during the holidays. Dr.
Blanchard said people experiencing the Holiday Heart Syndrome most
often appear at the emergency room during holiday party season and
The syndrome usually subsides
on its own, but medical attention is recommended. Another
recommendation Dr. Blanchard makes is "watch your alcohol intake
during the holidays."
Handling the first holiday
after a loved one has died
Stephen Shuchter, M.D., UCSD
professor of psychiatry
An expert on grief, Dr.
Shuchter has three suggestions for individuals facing the first
holiday after a loved one has died:
- Donít be surprised at
the power of the re-emergence of the grief experience. Recognize
that itís not unusual to re-experience the intense sadness and
- In anticipation of the
holidays, have an adequate support system of family and/or friends
who have gone through a similar loss.
- Have structured plans or
you might be left alone to grieve. Plan to be with your supportive
family or friends. And, consider a planned event or experience
planned around the person who died, such as a visit to the
cemetery with a friend or family member.
Helping a family member with
Alzheimerís to enjoy the holidays
Lisa Snyder, LCSW, UCSD
Alzheimerís Disease Research Center
Remembering that Alzheimerís
is a disease that makes life and surroundings confusing to the
patient, you can help by simplifying your holiday celebrations with
quieter, smaller gatherings of family and friends. Alzheimerís
patients can be overwhelmed by crowds and may be embarrassed at the
inability to remember a name. Rather than a large group, focus on
one-to-one interactions. Make modifications that help keep the patient
involved and that help him/her be successful in an activity. For
example, ask the patient to put one or two ornaments on the tree or
put freshly baked cookies in the cookie tin.
And, consider everyoneís
expectations, the patientís, your family, and yours. Holidays bring
out feelings of loss and recognition of what the Alzheimerís patient
has lost that can be painful for everyone. Ask family and friends to
consider gifts with special meaning, such as soothing music or nature
videos, or perhaps a photo album or scrapbook that can be enjoyed
together with the patient.
Ladder Safety During The
Jeffrey Smith, M.D., UCSD
Division of Orthopaedic Trauma, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics
Decorating for the holidays
can be just as dangerous as it is fun, especially when using a ladder
to hang lights and ornaments. More than half a million people are
treated each year in emergency rooms for ladder accidents when doing
household duties such as painting, cleaning and decorating.
The injuries that result from
ladder accidents are more severe than you would expect, including
severe fractures to the heel, knee and spine. Before climbing a
ladder, take some precautions. Amongst other things, make sure the
locks are secured and the bottom and top of the rails are on firm
surfaces. The soles of your shoes should be clean and dry so they donít
slip from the ladder rungs.