Some people say that finding balance is the key to a happy life. What they don’t tell you is that balance might be closer to home than you think. Whether you’re relaxing on the weekend or running from meeting to meeting at work, your heart maintains a steady, constant rhythm. Through all life’s ups and downs, your heart is giving your body balance behind the scenes.
But what happens to your heart when you drink alcohol? Finding a concrete answer can be tough. It seems like every week there’s a new study that hits the news about alcohol and your heart. The problem is, most of these studies only look into the effects of moderate drinking.
If you or your loved one is abusing alcohol, excessive drinking can significantly impact your body’s most important organ. If wondering why alcohol is bad for your heart, keep reading to discover how drinking can disrupt the balance your heart provides your body.
What is the Definition of Heavy Drinking?
Since many of the studies about alcohol’s effects on the heart only cover casual drinking, it’s important to define what heavy drinking is. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, heavy drinking looks like:
- Men: 15 or more drinks per week and five or more drinks per day
- Women: 7 or more drinks per week and four or more drinks per day
5 Reasons Why Alcohol is Bad for Your Heart
1. Increased Heart Rate
Your heart rate naturally increases when you’re working out or being active. But heavy drinking can lead to an increased heart rate, too. Only this time, it isn’t in a healthy way.
The technical term for this is called tachycardia. Your heart rate goes up because of issues in the electrical signals your body uses for your heartbeat. Tachycardia has been known to cause blood clots, which lead to heart attacks and strokes.
2. A Weakened Heart Muscle
Your heart is like every other muscle in your body in that it is constantly working to keep you going. This means every aspect of your heart muscle needs to be strong and healthy, including the myocardium. This is the muscular tissue of the heart that allows the heart to pump blood and contract.
Excessive drinking can weaken the myocardium. That makes it more challenging for your heart to deliver nutrients to other important organs. If enough blood isn’t pumped throughout your body, you’ll experience congestive heart failure.
3. An Irregular Heartbeat
An irregular heartbeat is what happens when your heart falls out of balance. A change in your heartbeat or arrhythmia, can be a side effect of heavy drinking. Depending on your personal health, your heartbeat could speed up or slow down. Neither of which is good for your long-term health.
Over a long period of time, an arrhythmia can cause blood to pool in different parts of the heart. Blood clots like this can have pieces break off that can cause damage throughout other parts of the body.
4. Changes in Blood Pressure
One of the most common answers to how alcohol affects the heart is changes in blood pressure. A single drink can affect your blood pressure, but it typically goes back to normal after a short period of time. That’s not the case with alcohol abuse.
Heavy drinking can cause alcohol-related hypertension. Given enough time, this increase in blood pressure will cause your arteries to thicken and raise your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
5. Cardiovascular Problems Even with Short-Term Heavy Drinking
While the other affects we discussed happen over time, alcohol abuse also poses immediate danger for your heart. If you consume between 20 to 30 drinks in a week, you’re six times more likely to experience a cardiovascular event or heart attack. Many people suffering from alcohol addiction can meet that threshold in one week, requiring immediate treatment and care.
Find Personalized Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Fountain Hills Recovery
Alcohol addiction has taken a lot from you. But at Fountain Hills Recovery, we can help you restore balance to your life. Our private luxury addiction treatment center in Arizona gives you an individualized approach to help you find lasting recovery.
The scenic landscape and resort-style residence gives you the opportunity to escape from the triggers that started your alcohol abuse. The isolation, hopelessness and loneliness you might feel does not have to be your norm.
Our integrated treatment team is handpicked for their expertise and empathy. Since many of us at Fountain Hills Recovery have personally struggled with addiction, we know how you’re feeling. That’s why we can tell you that there is hope for recovery and life beyond alcohol addiction.
Start Your Healing Journey from Alcohol Addiction Today
If you or your loved one is ready to take an important step towards recovery, contact us today. Together, we can break the cycle of addiction.