Holiday gatheringsThese are fraught with danger. According to the American Council on Exercise, the average Thanksgiving meal has 3,000 calories. The average alcohol intake is higher than normal. Many people forget to bring medication because of their hectic travel schedules. Host families can feel stressed when there are many people in their home.

“Overindulging, traveling and the stress of entertaining have health consequences,”Niten Singh, MD is a member the Society for Vascular Surgery. “After Thanksgiving dinner, hospital emergency rooms brim with overstuffed and over-served guests.”

Holiday Heart Syndrome can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption. This condition is also known as atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm. People who have this condition are at greater risk of getting stroke.

Heart palpitations and chest discomfort are all signs of stroke. These symptoms are common in stroke patients.

* Blood pressure over 135/85

* Cigarette smoking

* Heavy alcohol consumption

* High cholesterol

* Diabetes

* Not exercising half hour daily

* High sodium (salt) diet

* Blood circulation problems

Strokes are fourth leading cause of death in America — 137,000 Americans died due to strokes in 2010, according the National Vital Statistics Report.

“We see a lot of stroke patients during the holiday season,”Dr. Singh. A 2004 study published in the medical journals “Circulation”According to reports, heart-related deaths are up by 5 percent during the holidays.

A healthy lifestyle, daily exercise, not smoking, and a healthy weight are proactive steps to avoid vascular disease. A non-invasive test can detect vascular disease and medication can be used to treat it.

“The holidays are a perfect time to announce to family and friends your decision to cut back on calories, alcohol and cigarettes,”Dr. Singh. “Then, invite them to join you on a new holiday tradition — after-dinner walks.” has additional information about vascular health.