Four Ways Alcohol Affects Your Heart
Unwinding after a long stressful day at work, or bar hopping with friends on a Saturday night can sometimes lead to drinking too much alcohol.
While drinking can be a way to relax and have fun, it can also be harmful to your heart health if you aren’t drinking safely.
"Just like the majority of things in life – moderation is key. Too much of a good thing can actually be detrimental to your heart health," said cardiologist Brett Eliuk, DO, FACC, at Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare. "When alcohol is the cause of the heart issue, cutting back or stopping use can help reverse the damage."
Here are four ways that consuming alcohol can affect your heart.
- Cardiomyopathy or Congestive Heart Failure
A condition where the heart muscles weaken and stretch preventing them from pumping enough blood to other organs. This condition can occur after long-term heavy drinking
- Irregular Heartbeats
Binge drinking, or drinking more than three drinks a day, can quicken a heartbeat. The heart pumps at a consistent speed and if interrupted will result in parts of the body getting too much blood while others won’t get enough.
- Blood Clots
A damaged heart can’t pump correctly and makes the body more prone to blood clots, especially during alcohol binges. Blood clots can travel from the heart to the brain which will prevent the heart from pumping blood to the brain, eventually causing a stroke.
- Increased Blood Pressure
Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure that can result from excessive drinking. This makes the blood vessels less flexible and makes it harder for the heart to pump through the vessels, therefore causing them to constrict and raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk for other health problems.
Sources: pubs.niaa.nih.gov, consumer.healthday.com, drinkaware.co
If you have a concern about alcohol consumption and how it is affecting you, talk to your primary care provider. It a heart health problem is diagnosed, he/she will refer you to one of the specialists at Bronson Heart & Vascular. Their expertise has led to Bronson Methodist Hospital receiving a five-star rating from Healthgrades for treatment of heart failure in 2016. Our board certified cardiologists pride themselves in prevention, early detection and management of heart diseases. Click here to learn your current risk for heart disease.
The Bronson Heart & Vascular team is committed to heart and vascular disease prevention, and sharing easy steps you can take to live a healthier life. Looking for a Bronson doctor to help you? For a complete list of providers at Bronson, visit bronsonhealth.com/find-a-doctor or call Bronson HealthAnswers at (269) 341-7723.