Effects of Smoking and Alcohol

What the Correlation Between Alcohol and Heart Disease?

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:48 am

Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. Excessive drinking can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle. What’s more, alcohol can contribute to obesity and the long list of health problems that can go along with it.

Alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death worldwide. Alcohol also increases your risk of developing liver cancer, can contribute to depression and anxiety, and can lead to accidents or suicide. The best way to reduce the risks associated with alcohol consumption is to abstain from drinking altogether. However, if you are going to drink alcohol in moderation, you must do so responsibly.

Alcohol and Heart Disease: How to Protect your Health?

Alcohol is an addictive substance with negative health effects. It can cause many health issues, such as cancer, heart disease and liver damage. Alcohol is also a risk factor in suicide, violence and traffic accidents.

You must have heard this very often that drinking alcohol can lead to heart problems or even a heart attack, but you might not be sure how this is exactly explained. Consuming anything in excess can lead to serious health issues. Interestingly, experts invariably mention that a drink or two every day keeps your heart healthy and can even prevent a stroke from occurring. So how does this gel with the conclusion that alcohol is not good for your heart? 

Alcohol and Heart Disease Facts

Before one even considers this question of excessive alcohol consumption, the more critical issue is there are certain categories of people who should go nowhere near a bottle of liquor. These are;

Alcohol And Heart Disease Starts with Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Diabetics
  • Those with known conditions of high BP
  • People who have already suffered strokes or have heart-related issues
  • Those having high triglycerides and also
  • Those already consuming certain medications for any condition not related to the above
  • You can add pregnant women to this as well as people who are already obese.

With these people, the risk of alcohol consumption is high and as far as possible, they should avoid drinking any alcoholic liquor. The difficulty that arises in most cases is people may not be aware that they could carry some of these conditions and they would be merrily enjoying their evening drinks or even a weekend binge. These could be quite dangerous for their health. In the last category listed above, alcohol might react adversely with some drugs and if the person is taking the drugs regularly, it puts him/her directly in the line of risk of heart failure.

Alcohol and Heart Disease Risk

There is a significant amount of research that shows a link between alcohol and heart disease. The article will discuss how to protect your health against the dangers of alcohol.

Know The Effect Of Alcohol On Our System

The chemistry part of this is explained that alcohol can directly affect the individual’s blood pressure. It increases as the person keeps drinking over and over. Simultaneously, there is an increase in certain fats in the bloodstream. Indirectly, this fat could lead to obesity and that could precipitate disorders like diabetes.

Apart from this, there is sufficient evidence to link excessive drinking to life-threatening diseases like cancer, peptic ulcers, and serious deficiencies in the liver that can lead to fatality. So from every perspective, consumption of alcohol of any concentration, meaning whether it is beer or wine or the harder forms like whiskey and rum, the risk to the heart is real and for those with prior conditions, the damage to the health could only get hastened.

Harmful Effects of Alcohol on Heart

  1. Excessive alcohol intake leads to an increase in cholesterol and BP, which are risk factors for heart attack or blockages. 
  2. Excessive alcohol intake leads to alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy or weakening of heart muscle. 
  3. Excessive alcohol intake is also a risk factor for developing an irregular heart rate called Atrial Fibrillation. 
Recommended Daily Alcohol Intake Value to Keep your Heart Healthy
  • Men – Upto 2 glasses/day 
  • Women – 1 glass/day (studies have shown that even a small amount of alcohol intake in women is very harmful) A drink is one 12 oz. Beer, 4 oz. Of wine, 1.5 oz. One ounce of 80-proof spirits. Of 100-proof spirits. Binge drinking should be ABSOLUTELY avoided. 
  • Red wine – There is no clear cut data to prove that red wine has some cardioprotective properties. A few small studies have suggested so, but as of now, there is no clear-cut answer. 
Alcohol and Aspirin

If you are on aspirin and take alcohol, then you have higher chances of developing gastric ulcers and erosions. Hence, try to reduce drinking if you do. If you do not drink, then there is no need for you to drink, as drinking alcohol does not provide any major benefit.

Effects of Alcohol on the Heart

With the effects of alcohol, the liver is the most talked about the organ. However, this is not the only part of the body affected by alcohol. Alcohol can also affect your cardiovascular health. This effect is determined largely by the quantity of alcohol being consumed. In restricted amounts, alcohol can in fact be beneficial, but in large amounts, it can cause several heart health issues. Let’s look at both sides of the coin.

  • The Good – For women over the age of 45 years, drinking a few certain types of alcohol, such as red wine, can be good for the heart. It protects the heart against damage to the arteries by increasing the good cholesterol levels. This prevents the narrowing of arteries by reducing the amount of fat deposited on the arterial walls. Good cholesterol also helps lower the level of bad cholesterol and fights against its ill effects.
    • Alcohol also reduces the ability of platelets to stick together by increasing the amount of fibrinogen produced by the liver. Thus, it prevents the formation of blood clots and heart attacks caused by them.
  • The Not so Good – The ill effects of alcohol consumption overshadow its benefits. Drinking heavily over an extended period can increase your risk of heart disease. It increases blood pressure that can further trigger a stroke or heart attack. Alcoholism can also lead to weight gain that again causes an increase in blood pressure.
    • Excessive alcohol consumption also weakens the heart muscles. This condition is known as cardiomyopathy. As the heart muscles grow weaker, they cannot pump blood efficiently and the heart may fail and cause premature death.
    • Binge drinking can cause a condition known as Holiday Heart Syndrome. It is characterized by severe pain in the center of the chest, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and breathlessness. It may make the person feel as though they were experiencing a heart attack. The term was coined as this condition was seen more commonly during the holiday season when people drink more heavily.

Thus, if you want to enjoy a long, healthy life, avoid alcohol or drink in moderation. For women, this means one drink a day while for men; consumption should be limited to two drinks a day. If you have an existing heart condition or a history of strokes, alcohol should be avoided completely.

You May Also Interested To Learn About: The biohacking guide for increase the wellness

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