Drink It Down (Or Not) – Here’s How Alcohol Affects Your Heart

How Do Antioxidants From Alcohol Affect The Heart?

How Do Antioxidants Affect The Heart?

Antioxidants may have some role in the overall benefit of drinking alcohol, but it’s all about treading carefully to determine what is happening. It could also involve HDL or anti-clotting properties of alcohol, which makes sense.

Can The Positives Be Replicated?

Can The Positives Be Replicated?

The claims are sometimes amazing, and hard-to-believe. After all, how could alcohol be (and do) so much good, but also affect the heart and the rest of the body in such destructive and irrevocable ways? Just look ahead to see some of the worst possible outcomes.

Does Alcohol Affect High Blood Pressure?

How Does Alcohol Affect High Blood Pressure?

When you drink too much alcohol, you’re likely to have high blood pressure (HBP), which is a serious condition for your health and wellness. When left untreated, HBP continues to wreck havoc on your arteries and heart. The pressure is too much for the arteries, so tearing begins to occur in the artery walls, which eventually also show signs of scar tissue.

Does Alcohol Affect Circulation Around The Heart?

Does Alcohol Affect Circulation?

In the crevices of the scar tissue that develop in the arteries (because of the arterial damage caused by high blood pressure), plaque build-up occurs. It’s all the cholesterol, platelets, and fats that accumulate in the arteries and then begin to harden and narrow.

Does Alcohol Weaken The Heart?

How Does Alcohol Weaken The Heart?

Binge drinking can cause irregular heart rhythms, called arrhythmias. So, it’s important not to overindulge in alcohol, even in the short term. But, it’s important to note that alcohol is not the only substance that can cause this heart beat disorder. Caffeine, drugs, depression meds and even smoking can instigate an irregular heart beat.

Why Are Arrhythmias Bad For Your Heart?

Why Are Arrhythmias Bad?

Arrhythmias really represent an “off” beat. It’s a change in the electrical impulses. The sequences aren’t progressing in the correct (and healthy) manner. Of course, lots of people live full and happy lives with irregular heartbeats. Typically, though, those people use meds and even a pacemaker to ensure that the heart and organs all continue to function.

How Does The Caloric Intake Affect Your Heart?

Caloric Intake

It’s called a beer belly for a reason. That’s because beer and most other alcoholic beverages contain calories (it’s high in sugar). So, if you drink alcohol regularly, there’s a good chance that you will also gain weight. At the same time, alcohol is frequently consumed as part of a meal, so the food can also contribute to the overall caloric intake.

Why Is Weight Gain Bad For Your Heart?

Why Is Weight Gain Bad?

Beyond the obvious reasons to avoid obesity, being overweight heightens your risk of high blood pressure, but also increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. All, in all, drinking further contributes to risk factors for stroke and arterial diseases. The fact that you’ll also gain weight only exacerbates the existing risk factors.

Does Alcohol Contribute To High Levels of Triglycerides?

Does Alcohol Contribute To High Levels of Triglycerides?

High triglycerides appear to contribute to arterial hardening, particularly in certain (more susceptible) people, but there’s still some uncertainty about the entire process. In any case, as studies move forward, one recommendation is consistent. That is, if your triglycerides become elevated, doctors recommend cutting back on alcohol consumption or eliminating it all together.

Do High Triglycerides Affect Your Heart?

Do High Triglycerides Affect?

High triglycerides contribute to the hardening of the arteries, but it also appears to correlate directly to a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, heart attack, or even pancreatitis in extreme cases. The highest risk of disease typically correlates with obesity and other factors.

Can Alcohol Cause Cardiomyopathy?

How Can Alcohol Cause Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a stretching and drooping of the heart muscle. It’s caused by chronic alcohol abuse. In the most extreme cases, heart function is severely compromised. The heart ceases to pump blood as effectively and the blood flow is therefore disrupted, which affects overall health and bodily function.

Can Alcohol Cause A Stroke?

Can Alcohol Cause A Stroke?

When you heavily drink alcohol, you’re increasing the likelihood that you will suffer from a stroke at a younger age. That’s because your higher level of alcohol in your body also makes the change of intracerebral hemorrhage greater. In other words, it may have happened anyway without alcohol at a later age, but heavy drinking may speed up the process.

Can Depression Affect Your Heart When You Drink?

How Does Depression Affect You?

When you’re depressed, sad, stressed, or feeling overwhelmed, you’re more likely to make poor choices, which can include drinking alcohol. Then, drinking alcohol may plunge you an even deeper depression. You must take care of yourself first, but also consider the root cause of your anxiety, stress, and depression. If you continue to feel the same way, you should seek professional help/therapy.

Does Sobriety Help The Heart?

Does Sobriety Help The Heart?

While it’s true that the further detrimental effects of alcohol will not be exacerbated, binge drinking still leaves a lasting mark on the heart and body. So, while you can prevent some of the cardiovascular damage from worsening due to stalling the heavy drinking habit or addiction, it’s often not possible to reverse the damage that has already been done to the arterial walls.

Will One Beer Affect Your Heart?

Is One Drink OK?

It’s usually considered ok to consume one drink if you’re a woman and two drinks if you’re a man. In fact, the American Heart Association states, “The incidence of heart disease in those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol (no more than two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for women) is lower than in nondrinkers.” Beware, though, if you drink more, you may be more susceptible to high blood pressure, obesity or stroke.

Does One Drink Every Day Affect Your Heart?

Does One Drink Every Day Affect Your Heart?

Yes, wine has shown to have some positive affects on the heart, but the American Heart Association also points toward evidence that one-drink-a-day can still be bad. One drink a day, over a long time, can cause an enlargement of the left upper chamber (atrium) of the heart. This goes beyond cardiomyopathy.

Does Age Matter When Drinking Alcohol?

Does Age Matter?

It’s illegal for persons under the age of 21 to drink alcohol. There are many reasons for the prohibition, but a few of the most-often cited ones include the fact that the brains of people younger than 21 years old are still developing. Alcohol slows the senses by affecting the cerebral cortex, nervous system, frontal lobe and hippocampus. Some of the affects of consuming alcohol at an early age may be irreversible.

Why Is Underage Drinking A Big Deal?

Does Underage Drinking Affect The Heart?

The kind of underage drinking you probably imagine is the binge-drinking parties that teenagers and young adults throw in high school and college. You’ve already seen some of the negative side-effects, as far as cognitive development is concerned. You’ll find that the effects are far more wide-ranging than you may have initially imagined.

Does Underage Drinking Affect Your Heart?

How Does Underage Drinking Affect The Heart?

Of course, there are many side-effects to binge drinking. With those side-effects in mind, it’s important to remember that it affects every part of the body and that it affects the heart in very specific (and permanent) ways.

Why Is Teen Drinking So Dangerous?

Why Is Teen Drinking So Dangerous?

Kids are trying alcohol at ages as young as 12, and their curiosity can quickly turn dangerous, even deadly, for themselves and their friends. When kids start drinking so young, it brings out the worst, most volatile behavior, but also leaves them liable to be in car accidents, experience alcohol poisoning, and also cause serious problems to their health that will affect them for the rest of their lives. What’s probably worse, kids who drink early are more likely to become alcoholics.

Does Gender Matter When Drinking Alcohol?

Does Gender Matter?

Around the world, men are more likely to drink than women, according to cultural and societal influences. But, studies also show that women are more quickly affected by alcohol (even when drinking less). That’s part of why it’s recommended that women only have one drink per day. Women experience adverse side-effects (like hangovers) more than men.

What About Other Dangers For Women?

What About Other Dangers For Women?

With all the research that shows that women are more quickly affected by alcohol, it should come as no surprise that women develop alcohol-related diseases sooner. Women may also be more likely to use alcohol as a remedy for depression or other emotional difficulties.

Why Are Women Harder Hit By Alcohol’s Side-Effects?

Why Are Women Harder Hit?

Alcohol consumption can leave women at higher risk of falls and hip fractures, premature menopause, infertility and miscarriage, and even osteoporosis. Worse yet, women are at high risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, while simultaneously being in higher danger of being misdiagnosed.

What About Bone Health?

What About Bone Health?

With the danger of osteoporosis so prevalent when women drink alcohol, it’s ironic that beer may also be offering other forms of support for the bones — in the form of silicon (orthosilicic acid), which helps build and maintain bones, according to the International Journal of Endocrinology.

What About Side-Effects Of Drinking While Pregnant?

Drinking While Pregnant?

Studies have shown the very serious fetal-alcohol syndrome consequences when you drink excessively while pregnant. One of the more serious possibilities of heavy drinking can be birth defects, which can mean that the baby could be born with heart complications (or worse).

Should Pregnant Women Drink At All?

Should Pregnant Women Drink At All?

There’s been a great deal of debate regarding whether pregnant women should drink at all. There have been recommendations for years, saying that women should not drink more than one drink per day. The American Heart Association now recommends that you don’t drink at all if and when you’re pregnant. It’s just not worth the risk.

What About Aspirin?

What About Aspirin?

Aspirin is sometimes prescribed by your doctor when you are at risk of suffering from a heart attach or stroke, but it can be detrimental to your health (and heart) if you drink alcohol regularly. There’s the chance of stomach problems, including bleeding, when you mix alcohol and aspirin. Since the daily aspirin regimen should only be considered when it is recommended by your doctor, you would also need to let them know about your drinking habits.

How Does Drinking Affect Your Heart Later in Life?

Does Drinking Later In Life Affect Your Heart?

As you drink more, over time, you’ll also experience changes in your heart function. Studies have already shown that heavy drinking can cause high blood pressure, tearing of the arterial wall, and other cardiovascular damage. Now there’s evidence that drinking in moderation can still damage the elderly, if they have been drinking for a long time.

What About Dementia?

What is dementia?

Although it’s not yet clear why, there’s a correlation between long-term alcohol use and the development of Alcohol-Related Dementia. This disorder is often associated with confusion, amnesia, lack of coordination, and loss of short-term memory. Really, these symptoms could be interchanged with some of those seen with “regular” old age and/or senility.

Is Wine Better For The Heart Than Regular Alcohol?

Is Wine Better?

Studies show that resveratrol (found in the skins of red grapes) may positively affect the heart. Specifically, it may protect against cardiovascular disease, as well as type-2 diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders. Because of the possible positive ways that wine affects the human body, doctors typically tend to be more lenient regarding wine drinking.

Is Beer Good For You?

Is Beer Good For You?

Most of the studies and news you’ll read about the positive side effects of alcohol appears to directly correlate to wine (red wine, in particular), but there is some evidence that beer may have some “good stuff” too. Beyond the cosmetic value of beer (some love to bath in beer and/or apply it to the skin), it also has polyphenols.

What About Beer’s Ingredients?

What About Beer's Ingredients?

A study, published by Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, seems to indicate that the hops may offer promise as a powerful inflammation remedy. Other studies have suggested that hops could hold promise as a remedy for viral respiratory infections.

How Does Resveratrol Affect The Heart?

Does Resveratrol Affect The Heart?

Studies indicate that resveratrol affects the formation and functionality of immature fat cells. Since resveratrol blocks fat cells in their initial development stages, it also directly and indirectly reduces fat-cells. This fascinating reality has been extensively examined as a way to combat obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Is It Worse To Drink At A Bar?

Is It Worse To Drink At A Bar?

Bar environments are designed to promote drinking and frivolity, so if you’re trying to keep your drinking to just one (or two) drinks, a bar may be the worst place to go. Even the loud music, dim lights, bar food, and everything else at the pub or bar keeps you thirsty, drinking, and perhaps not aware of how much alcohol you’re consuming.

What About Cancer?

What About Cancer?

Evidence suggests that women may be at a higher risk to develop breast cancer if they drink. Here again, though, the risk factor depends on the level of consumption (heavy drinker versus one-a-day), and even then the danger only increases by 2% for those who drink alcohol in moderation versus heavy drinkers.

What If Alcohol Also Cures?

Cancer Patient in Hospital

With all the negative side-effects to the heart, it’s refreshing (even hopeful) that they’ve found a correlation between the consumption of alcohol and some protection from cancer. The studies are ongoing, of course. It’s heartening to hear that alcohol may have some potential that may help prevent some cancers in the future.

Can You Get Healthy?

Get Healthy

Many of the negative side effects go hand-in-hand with lifestyles and life choices that could have been healthy and positive. So, while it’s impossible to guess whether the negative side-effects would happen under different circumstances, it is possible to surmise that the effects may not have been so severe.

Do Doctors Recommend Drinking Alcohol?

Do Doctors Recommend?

While there have been studies that seem to suggest a possible reduction in the risk of heart disease, when you drink in moderation, doctors differ in how they perceive and relay the evidence to their patients. Some doctors say that its essential for their patients to know so they can drink in moderation and thus take advantage of the positive side-effects. Other doctors see the dangers.

Are You At Risk?

Are You At Risk?

You’ll find benefits and dangers for most things in life, and most everything is debatable from some angle or other. You should know (or find out) your family history, if possible, and then determine what level of risk you want to take on with your life. While you’re at it, consider your own personal health status, and consult a doctor to learn more details about what you can do to be safe and happy (with or without alcohol).

What Can You Do?

What Can You Do?

It’s great to know where you come from, what your medical history is, and even what risk factors you’re already noticing. Ultimately, though, the dire influences of over-drinking and other lifestyle choices can sometimes be mitigated. That means, you can change your life and even improve it.

Specifically, the American Heart Association recommends that you “talk to your doctor about lowering your cholesterol and lowering high blood pressure, controlling your weight, getting enough physical activity and following a healthy diet.”

You’ll be amazed at what a difference it all makes!