Foxhall Internists, PC
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December 2011

The physicians and staff of Foxhall Internists want to wish you a safe, healthy and enjoyable holiday season.

Our offices will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Jan. 2.

However, we want to remind you that one of our physicians is always available while the office is closed or while you are traveling, in the event you need assistance with an urgent medical issue.


Foxhall Internists can be reached at (202) 362-4467.


There is a well known phenomenon called "the Holiday Heart."   During the holiday season, we often celebrate to (mild) excess. In the long term, there may be potential benefits to small amounts of alcohol, but a "binge" can be a trigger for a common problem: Atrial Fibrillation (or A-fib). "Binge" is a relative term. If you are generally a non-drinker, but have two or three drinks in a night, that can seem like a lot (to your heart). The alcohol can cause a brief, harmless stretch of your heart, which in turn can trigger an irregular heartbeat, which we call A-fib.


The irregularity is often felt as a pounding, irregular or fast heart beat. You may feel light-headed or dizzy or breathless.  It may be self-limited and stop on its own. Alternatively, you can get 'stuck' in the abnormal heart rhythm.


If you know your heart is healthy, this is rarely an immediate danger, but it certainly can be startling. It can also happen in the middle of the night and wake you up from your sleep.  Don't panic, but don't ignore it either. The best thing to do, if it is after hours, is to go the Emergency Room where they can check your ECG and usually treat this condition with simple medications.


The moral for the holidays: Know your heart health. Know your limits, and keep all things in moderation (including moderation!). 


This information was provided by Foxhall Internists cardiologist Dr. Joshua Yamamoto.


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.


This week, Dec. 4 to 10, is National Handwashing Awareness Week 2011 and a good reminder to take the time to wash your hands often to protect your health and the health of those around you.


For more information on handwashing, please visit CDC's handwashing website.