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What Are Some Effects of Alcohol on the Heart

What Are Some Effects of Alcohol on the Heart? [Guide]

Posted: October 22, 2020 by in Hope Recovery Addiction Center

The risks of alcohol and the prevalence of heart disease in the general population are well documented. The effects of alcohol on the heart are dangerous. In fact, those that consume too much alcohol put themselves at risk for heart disease. This contrasts with the general social belief that regular alcohol consumption is good for heart health.

It can be true that one glass of red wine as part of a balanced diet coupled with a daily exercise routine can have health benefits. However, it’s dangerous to assume that alcohol is good for the heart when comparing it to studies that show that alcoholism causes cardiovascular disease.

If you believe you have a drinking problem or are worried about how alcohol may have affected your heart, it is likely you may have already caused damage to your heart. While some of these effects cannot be reversed, there are still major health benefits to seeking alcoholism rehabilitation. Call us today at 918-779-0011, and we answer any questions you may have.


Continue reading below for more information about the effects of alcohol on the heart.

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Can Drinking in Moderation be Heart Healthy?

Alcohol and the heart are directly connected. It is widely publicized that drinking in moderation is good for your heart. Additionally, a lot of wine connoisseurs toast to heart health when they pour themselves a glass. However, this tendency is misleading. It downplays the negative effects that alcoholism has on heart health.

According to nutrition experts, a little alcohol in your diet can increase HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol. Alcohol in moderation is also known to prevent damage caused by bad cholesterol, or LDL. HDL is the cholesterol that removes harmful cholesterol (LDL) deposits in your arteries.

Alcohol in moderation can also help prevent blood clots, which may help stop heart attacks. However, manipulation of the blood clotting potential of blood does make you more prone to easy bleeding. This can be problematic when considering the effects alcohol has on the body systems.

While there seems to be some correlation between light drinking and increased health, scientists are not sure if this correlation is due to the other healthy lifestyle choices that light drinkers tend to make. Most people who watch their alcohol consumption are also daily exercises and eat a healthy diet. As a result, benefits attributed to alcohol may be the product of good lifestyle choices.

The American Heart Association still does not condone drinking because the possible benefits do not outweigh the catastrophic consequences. These consequences include liver disease, cardiovascular distress, and overconsumption. If you’re thinking about starting a routine drinking habit in your life due to the potential heart benefits, don’t do it. There is too much evidence that points toward the adverse effects of alcohol on heart health than the elusive positives of drinking.

Avoiding alcohol entirely is still the most health-conscious choice you can make.

Drinking Heavily Causes Heart Damage

Heavy drinking links to several negative health problems. Too much alcohol causes heart conditions and health concerns like high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure. The mechanisms related to these issues vary widely. They are also affected by the person’s overall health and genetic inheritance.

Drinking too much is linked to obesity as it’s a high-calorie food source often consumed on top of regular meals. Obesity increases the chances of developing heart disease, which exacerbates alcohol’s ability to create cardiovascular dysfunction.

Alcohol taxes the liver and affects the immune system. Unfortunately, this puts even more strain on your heart. The liver produces toxins when it isn’t healthy. These toxins can cause dilation and inflammation throughout the cardiovascular system. If both your liver and heart are affected by your alcohol consumption, you are dramatically increasing your likelihood of premature death. Contact our specialists today if you would like more information about the effects of alcohol.

Cardiomyopathy and Alcoholism

A certain heart disease caused by alcoholism is called alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Excessive drinking over a prolonged period of time weakens and thins the muscles of the heart. This can eventually affect its ability to pump blood properly. When there is a blood flow disruption, all major bodily functions suffer the consequences. This eventually leads to life-threatening conditions, including heart failure.

When blood can’t circulate through your tissues and organs correctly, there is an interruption in the processes. This may start as muscle soreness and fatigue. However, it could result in organ failure and gangrene on limbs if it continues. Affecting the cardiovascular system with alcohol not only exacerbates problems with the heart. It also puts undue pressure on all systems because almost every part of the body needs blood.

Men between the ages of 35 and 50 that drink heavily are most impacted by alcoholic cardiomyopathy. The development of alcoholic cardiomyopathy usually occurs after 5-15 years of regular overconsumption of alcohol. Men that imbibe more than four drinks per day or over 14 drinks per week are heavy drinkers. Furthermore, women with more than 3 drinks per day or over 7 drinks per week are also over drinkers.

You may read the above statistics and think that you aren’t doing damage to your body because you are a few drinks short of the defined parameters for definite heart damage. This does not put you in the clear, and you should not use the above numbers to permit yourself to drink up to those limits. If you find that your drinking is well beyond those limits, now is a good time to begin seeking help for your alcoholism by calling 918-770-0011.

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy

People suffering from alcoholic cardiomyopathy often suffer from a combination of symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in their feet, legs, and ankles
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness that may lead to fainting
  • Irregular urine output
  • A productive cough that creates a pink and foamy mucous
  • An irregular or rapid pulse
  • Trouble concentrating.

If you’re a heavy drinker, it’s important to remember that you may not deal with any symptoms of cardiomyopathy due to your drinking until it results in heart failure. An absence of symptoms is not a guarantee of overall health. Do not suffer through the effects of alcohol alone. Contact our experts today, and let us help you start your new sober journey.

Studies on Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease

Researchers have studied what signs point toward heavy drinking habits, and when they become a harmful drinking problem. Having six or more drinks on one occasion is excessive. Additionally, any drinking that leads to a feeling of drunkenness or results in a hangover is also excessive. Even one instance of overdrinking puts your health at risk.

Needing a drink upon awakening from a good night’s sleep is problematic. Suffering consequences in your personal life because of drinking is a bad sign. For these things to occur, you more than likely are consuming more than your fair share of alcoholic beverages in a day. If any of the above warning signs describe your life, it’s time to seek rehabilitative assistance.

If your family or friends have expressed that your drinking is excessive outside of strict religious or social contexts, it is most likely a problem. It’s hard to hide drunkenness from those around you. You should carefully consider rehabilitation if your support network is trying to alert you to be more aware of your compulsive drinking. If you are exhibiting any alcoholism signs, then your drinking is most likely actively damaging your cardiovascular system.

How Alcohol and Heart Disease is Studied

There are biomarkers in your bloodstream that researchers can identify. These can shine a light on your probability of incurring cardiovascular disease as a result of alcoholism. Three biomarkers are almost always evident in people who go to hospitals for alcohol-related problems. Additionally, the people with these biomarkers almost always drink excessively.

Compared to the average person without a drinking problem, those hospitalized for alcoholism showed an overall 10.3% increase in biomarkers related to heart injury. The instances of overstretching of cardiac walls in 46.7% of patients and inflammation were prevalent in 69.2% of the alcoholic population. 31.5% of patients without obvious cardiac wall stretching still had the biomarkers indicating that stretching had occurred.

Studies show that those that partake in excessive drinking, even on occasion, have a higher than average instance of inflammation throughout the body, which leads to an array of health conditions. More studies currently observe the hearts of alcoholics via ultrasound. This is to grasp the specific kind of damage done to the heart due to over-consuming alcoholic beverages. Please do not wait until it is too late. Contact our trained professionals today, and we can help you get healthy now.

Statistics Illustrating Alcoholism and Heart Disease

A database helps us understand the statistics related to alcohol and heart disease in the general population in the state of California. There are approximately 14,727,591 people registered in this database. About 1.8% of those individuals have a diagnosed alcohol abuse disorder.

An analysis of these individuals showed that those with alcoholism were more likely to suffer from a heart attack, problems with atrial fibrillation, and congestive heart failure. Those who suffered from an alcohol abuse disorder of any magnitude had a threefold increase in cardiovascular disease risk. This is on par with the better-known risk factors of alcoholism, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Individuals without a family history of heart disease, or who otherwise are not at risk for cardiovascular distress, still show a heightened risk for life-threatening heart conditions if they had a drinking problem. Although heart disease may not run in your family, excessive drinking can still cause heart disease in your lifetime.

You Can Reclaim Your Heart Health

You can take control of your life no matter how much alcoholism has affected it. Medical professionals are ready to help you address any concerns you have related to alcohol and your heart health.

If the effects of alcohol on your heart are not your top concerns, there may be other consequences that alcoholism is causing. It is never a bad time to reach out for help. Trained medical professionals and rehabilitative experts are standing by to assist you with establishing your path to recovery.

Reach out today by calling 918-779-0011 to speak with compassionate specialists no matter where you’re at in your journey. Even if you aren’t certain you have a problem, the professionals that will answer your call will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding alcoholism.


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