“T’was the day o’ the Irish when me laddies and lassies imbue the Irish whiskey a bit freer than most days…alas, t’was also the day me heart cried out.”
Perhaps this is not the tale one would dance a jig to if put to music, however it is the tale most tell after a heavy night of drinking on St. Patrick’s Day. It is true the bars were once again filled to over-flowing just a few nights ago with hearty celebration and good-natured fun in Irish tradition. Of concern is the tradition of binge drinking that occurs this night and the aftermath of its effects.
Studied conducted on European drinking patterns and heart disease, specific to France and Ireland, found that the amount consumed in a single sitting has a direct relation to increased risk for heart attack. Researchers found that when comparing each culture, including the types of alcoholic beverages consumed, frequency and other cardiac risk factors inherent in the population, the Irish binge-drinkers had a higher incident of heart attack than the French who consumed the same amount of alcohol over the duration of a full week. Factored into that data was the difference in the type of alcohol consumed with the French preference of wine taken over a longer period of time versus hard liquor, preferred by the Irish who typically consumed large quantities in a 24 hour period.
Finding ways to celebrate this traditional Irish holiday without causing injury to your heart is the key. Choosing to follow a pattern of moderate alcohol consumption on St. Patrick’s Day is preferable. Thoughts of risky behavior typically do not factor into holiday celebrations but those who have been trained in Basic Life Support (BLS) know the consequences that can occur with risky behavior. Responding to a heart attack is not a fun way to end an Irish celebration.
So how does one celebrate with the Irish and stave off the threat of heart disease? Part 2 in this article series gives detail on how you can avoid the pitfalls of partying.