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How Does Alcohol Affect the Heart?

Alcoholism is a powerful and complex disease that affects an individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual health. Research into the effects of alcoholism consistently show that it is one of the leading causes of preventable death. The heart and nearly every other organ in the body is negatively affected by high rates of alcohol consumption and long-term use will likely cause major health complications and diseases that are entirely preventable.

There is a misconception that alcohol is good for the heart. A 2017 study found that drinking less than 21 units per week for men and less than 14 units per week for women can lower the risk of common cardiovascular diseases. However, surpassing these guidelines, as men and women suffering from alcoholism do, can create major problems. According to Drink Aware, “Beyond the low-risk alcohol guidelines, alcohol’s potential benefits on the heart are outweighed by other health risks, including acute harms and other illnesses, such as liver disease and cancer. The potential benefit only occurs if your 14 units is spaced out during the week – consuming heavily in one session can cause a heart attack – sometimes called ‘holiday heart’”

The belief that alcohol can be used to prevent cardiovascular diseases from occurring has been debunked. Alcohol Think Again explains, “The World Health Organisation and other key groups now recommend that people should not commence or maintain drinking to achieve health benefits and that there is no merit in promoting alcohol consumption as a preventative strategy for cardiovascular disease. The National Heart Foundation (Australia) has also formed the position that alcohol consumption not be promoted for the prevention or treatment of heart disease.” The minimal health benefits of alcohol do not add up to justification for drinking to prevent cardiovascular problems.

The heart can be negatively impacted both by drinking heavily over a long period of time and by drinking excessively on a single occasion. According to Medical News Today, heave drinking can “cause blood pressure to be high by triggering the release of certain hormones that cause constriction of blood vessels. This can adversely affect the heart. Excessive alcohol intake has long been linked to multiple cardiovascular complications, including angina, high blood pressure, and a risk of heart failure.” Additional risks include cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat, and stroke.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431