We all know that heavy drinking is damaging to your body. Alcohol impairs your judgment and you get the “drunk” feeling many of us have experienced at one time or another. But there are other effects of alcohol as well. Alcohol also damages organs like the liver, brain and our heart.
Short Term Effects of Alcohol on Your Heart
When you have your first couple of drinks your heart will speed up and you will feel more relaxed and at ease. In this situation, you may become more sociable and talk to people. If you drink heavily on just one occasion, you run the risk of having a heart attack. You may also lose consciousness completely and fall into a coma or even stop breathing and die.
In the short term, your blood pressure will rise and your heart will have more difficulty in pumping blood to the rest of your body. You may also get shortness of breath or an irregular heart rhythm.
Long Term Effects of Alcohol on the Heart
As you keep drinking, your heart will receive more damage to it. Long term drinking will weaken your heart muscle, which we call alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This means that your heart droops and it has stretched so it can’t contract the way a normal heart does. You heart in this condition cannot pump the blood which nourishes your other organs.
Your organs may receive damage due to a lack of nutrients from the blood. With cardiomyopathy, there is often a shortness of breath, fatigue, and inflammation in the legs or feet. In some cases, you can have heart failure.
If you drink long term or binge drink, your heart can have issues with how well it beats. Alcohol disturbs the rhythm of how your heart beats and you can suffer from either a rapid heartbeat or an irregular heartbeat. These heart abnormalities are called arrhythmias. Chronic drinking raises the risk that you will develop these arrhythmias in your heartbeat since the alcohol interrupts the electronic impulses that drive the beating of our heart. Chronic drinking can lead to hypertension or high blood pressure. This will raise your risks for either a heart attack or stroke. Heavy drinking can release stress hormones that constrict your blood vessels.
As you drink, you can also gain weight do to the calories in alcohol. This excess weight can also stress your heart and cause a build-up of plaque in the walls of your arteries triggering a heart attack. Your heart can’t cope with your continued alcohol consumption and the damage it does to your arteries.
Avoid Heart Disease
You simply cannot drink alcohol in large quantities and expect to have a healthy heart. You will run the risk of developing chronic conditions of your heart such as problems with your arteries due to plaque build-up, high blood pressure and even permanent damage to your heart. Alcohol in large quantities isn’t a friend to your heart. By quitting drinking, you’ll provide your heart with the relief it needs and you’ll become healthier in the process.
Download our “How to Give up Alcohol Course” today and begin the process of quitting alcohol.
Here is what the American Heart Association says about “Alcohol and Heart Disease“