The Effects of Alcohol in Your Heart


Alcohol consumption can increase the blood tension and weigh, thereby increasing the chances of having heart attacks, strokes as well as type 2 diabetes. The Senior Cardiac nurse Christopher Allen finds out more from Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist at Royal Liverpool University Hospitals.

1. What is the definition of alcohol?


Alcohol is a “depressant” drug. That means the brain’s control over your body’s functions is slowed down.

Even a tiny amount of alcohol can alter important functions such as the ability to speak and move. Consuming large quantities of alcohol in a row can reduce your heart rate and bring breathing down to a very low level.

If you are a regular drinker it could be that you feel the alcohol you consume doesn’t impact you as significantly however this could mean that you’ve developed a tolerance certain effects.

Keep in mind that drinking more the more damage you’ll cause.

2. How can alcohol affect my heart?

There is a clear connection between drinking regularly too many drinks and hypertension. In time elevated blood pressure (hypertension) causes strain upon the muscle of your heart. It could result in heart disease (CVD) which raises the risk of having a heart attack and stroke.

If you drink frequently and drink more than the low risk guidelines are likely to be advised to limit their consumption or quit drinking altogether.

3. How much alcohol can I consume without risk?

The latest guidance released at the beginning of January by UK Chief Medical Officers of the UK states that both women and men are advised to not drink frequently more than 14 units a week, in order to reduce the risks associated with the consumption of alcohol at a lower degree. And if there is a chance that you drink more than as high as 14 units in a week, you should try to spread the drinking across 3 weeks or longer.

Consuming excessive alcohol can result in other serious health issues including cardiovascular myopathy (where the muscle of your heart gets damaged and doesn’t function as effectively as it did in the past) as well as arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). These conditions can increase the risk of having a stroke.

4. Aren’t there a few advantages of drinking alcohol?

Overall, the risk of risk far exceed any possible benefits.

The most recent research suggests that the benefits for heart health drinking alcohol aren’t as significant and are only applicable to a lesser segment of people than was believed. The only population that could be able to benefit from alcohol consumption for the UK is women above 55 however, and even then only with moderate levels of consumption – approximately five units per each week, or less.

There’s absolutely no reason to drink alcohol if you haven’t already. There’s any drink, like beer or red wine, which can be proved to be ‘better than the other.

5. I’m suffering from a heart problem. Should I stop drinking?


If you have an arrhythmia-related condition and alcohol can increase the risk. This is especially true for those with inherited heart rhythm disorders.

Drinking more (binge drinking) can trigger an arrhythmia that is first seen when it happens in the very first instance you’re at a higher risk of developing it in the future.

If you quit drinking, or decrease the amount of alcohol you consume it will be apparent that you’ll experience a significant improvement in blood pressure (you will see a decrease within a couple of days).

If you suffer from an alcoholic cardiomyopathy, quitting drinking can bring about improvement or even healing for a variety of.

6. I’ve had heart surgery. When am I able to be able to drink alcohol again?

In the hospital, your medication are adjusted to regulate the blood pressure however you’re not drinking during that time. When you return home, if begin drinking again regularly or your blood pressure rises then your GP may alter your medication.

Your physician will usually tell you on when it’s safe to resume drinking alcohol from a medical point of view. Psychologically, however, a lot of people experience low moods when they’re released from hospital after the open surgery for their heart.

In the meantime It’s best to avoid drinking alcohol in the future, since it can make the feeling even worse and last longer.

7. Can alcohol interfere with my medications for heart disease?

heart disease

For a large portion of those using long-term drugs alcohol may reduce the effectiveness of the drug.

If you’re taking medications for diabetes or taking an anticoagulant such as warfarin, drinking alcohol may alter the way these medications perform, which is why it’s crucial to talk to your doctor.

Alcohol can cause liver damage over time, particularly in the case of drinking too much.

The use of statins, for instance, which directly affect the liver may cause more harm when mixed with alcohol. If you drink, you should stay within safe limit.

8. What do I think about the effects of alcohol on my weight?

Most often, people think of calories in relation to food and forgetting that a lot of alcohol drinks are also high in calories.

In the purest form, alcohol is around 7kcal/gram. One gram of alcohol weighs approximately 8 grams, which equals 56kcal, which is equivalent to the calories of a custard creme. Comparatively, carbohydrates are 4kcal per Gram. Your mixer or drink could also contain added sugars, which can increase the amount of calories in it.

Constantly eating too many calories could lead to an increase in weight and, consequently, overweight which can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack as well as type 2 diabetes.

Alcohol can make you take in more food than you normally would, or you may make healthier choices for food.