Substance Use

Is Alcohol Bad For Your Heart? Learn About The Risks

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Alcohol and Heart Effects

Excessive alcohol consumption can have serious consequences for your heart health. There is a direct link between alcohol and an increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure, arrhythmias, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death.

Alcohol is a popular substance enjoyed by many, but it can be hard to know how much alcohol is too much. While moderate drinking, like a daily glass of wine, may benefit cardiovascular health, it’s essential to understand risk factors associated with excessive or binge drinking.

At Zinnia Health, our trained experts are available to provide detox services and outpatient programs that can assist you in overcoming alcohol addiction. We understand what it takes to make a positive change and believe no one should have to confront their struggles alone. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, pick up the phone and call our drug abuse hotline at (855) 430-9439 for the support you need.

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How Much Does Alcohol Increase Risk of Heart Disease?

It is well known that too much alcohol is detrimental to one’s health, but what are the effects of alcohol on the cardiovascular system?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), abusing alcohol through excessive alcohol intake or heavy drinking can lead to severe cardiovascular complications, including cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), arrhythmia, hypertension, and even stroke.

To minimize the dangers associated with high levels of alcohol consumption, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 suggest that adults of legal age can choose to abstain from drinking or exercise moderation when consuming alcoholic beverages. Men should limit their intake to two drinks per day, and women should only consume a maximum of one drink a day.

While the Guidelines do not suggest that those who don’t drink alcohol should begin for any reason, they emphasize that if legal-age adults choose to consume alcoholic beverages, moderation is best.

People who should abstain from alcohol are:

  • Women who are or who might be pregnant
  • People with health conditions like liver disease, some heart problems, and a family history of alcoholism
  • People taking medications that interact negatively with alcohol
  • People who are struggling with an alcohol use disorder or find it challenging to manage their alcohol consumption

Does Drinking Alcohol Increase Risk of Heart Attack?

There’s no question that consuming alcohol can contribute to coronary heart disease.

According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, regular excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular disease and heart attack.

According to a further study published in the National Library of Medicine, another risk of heavy drinking is holiday heart syndrome, which is a widespread source of cardiovascular ailments, particularly in the United States.

It involves sudden changes in heart rate brought on by heavy alcohol consumption in individuals with no evidence of underlying cardiac issues.

Can Alcohol Permanently Damage Your Heart?

Yes, alcohol can permanently damage your heart.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), studies have proven that long-term, excessive alcohol consumption can weaken heart muscle tissue and increase the risk of a dangerous disorder known as alcohol-associated cardiomyopathy.

In this condition, the left ventricle becomes enlarged and cannot contract effectively.

At Zinnia Health, our highly qualified addiction specialists focus on providing a safe and secure atmosphere that enables you to make lasting changes without fear, judgment or stigma. It can often feel like taking on an impossible challenge, but at Zinnia Health, you don’t have to face alcoholism alone. If you need assistance, call our team today at (855) 430-9439.

Alcohol-related heart disease can be a serious health concern. If left undetected and untreated, such diseases can lead to further cardiac complications and an overall decrease in quality of life.

According to MedlinePlus, depending on the form of heart disease, one might not even experience any symptoms initially. In some cases, it’s only until a complication like a cardiac arrest that you may become aware of your condition.

Therefore, it is always important to be mindful of potential signs and seek medical attention. Paying close attention to your body’s signals should help you identify any unusual symptoms that may be present due to alcohol-related heart disease.

Prompt diagnosis and effective treatment for cardiovascular problems are vital in maintaining optimal cardiac health.

Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol While Taking Heart Medication?

According to NIAAA, drinking while taking some anticoagulants and cardiovascular medications cause problems that affect safety such as:

These medications include:

1. Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)

Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug that prevents blood clotting events such as heart attack and stroke. Alcohol use increases the risk of major bleeding for individuals taking warfarin, particularly those who have been on the medication for at least one year or possess genetic variants affecting how their body metabolizes it.

Patients with heavy drinking habits should undergo screening to assess if they need additional precautions before taking Warfarin.

2. Verapamil (Verelan, Calan)

Verapamil is a commonly prescribed calcium channel antagonist used to treat arrhythmia, hypertension and angina. However, if combined with alcohol consumption, this medication can lead to prolonged high blood alcohol concentration due to its inhibitory effects on ethanol metabolism.

3. Propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran, Hemangeol)

Propranolol is a beta blocker frequently prescribed to manage hypertension and other cardiac conditions.

However, when alcohol is consumed in conjunction with propranolol, it may raise plasma levels of the medication and cause adverse side effects like dizziness and fainting.

Furthermore, acute drinking levels can cause a decline in blood pressure that could potentially compound the already-lowering effect of propranolol on your blood pressure.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Alcohol?

Moderate alcohol consumption can sometimes have health benefits. A study published in the National Library of Medicine shows that red wine can increase HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol). Red wine also contains antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation, thus creating a lower risk of certain diseases.

Low levels of drinking can also provide stress relief as well as reduce anxiety and stimulate positive emotions like relaxation and contentment.

However, alcohol creates more problems than it solves, with the health risks far outweighing the benefits.

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Abuse?

Alcohol abuse can often be challenging to recognize, but there are several signs that someone may be struggling with alcohol consumption, including:

  • Changes in mood, such as increased irritability or aggressiveness
  • Physical symptoms like headaches and dizziness
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home or work
  • Isolating oneself from family and friends
  • Generally struggling to keep up with day-to-day obligations

If alcohol consumption starts giving a person more pleasure or takes higher priority than other activities, such as spending time with those closest to them, it could mean they’re depending on drinking for happiness.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

Drinking more than the recommended daily allowance can lead to various adverse health outcomes.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that women limit themselves to no more than one standard drink in any 24 hours and no more than two drinks for men.

How does Alcohol Affect Heart Health?

Alcohol can increase the likelihood of developing cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle). Moreover, drinking too much can worsen existing conditions like diabetes or high cholesterol.

At Zinnia Health, we are proud to offer 24/7 admissions to alcohol detox services and outpatient programs. Taking on the challenge of addiction can be overwhelming. If you’re looking for support on your path to healing, don’t wait any longer. Call us today at (855) 430-9439.

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