Sober living

Alcohol and your heart: Just getting a buzz can trigger an irregular rhythm

Because alcohol is high in calories, it can contribute to weight gain. Avoiding it may help someone maintain a moderate weight and improve their overall heart health. Alcohol may also have direct toxic effects on the heart. A heart attack is a life-threatening eco sober house price situation with a surprisingly high survival rate. A 2021 study found approximately 90% of people with a heart attack survived past the one-year mark. If you or someone you are with thinks they are having a heart attack, the first step is to call 911.

Marcus added that this situation is a perfect example where precision medicine may play a clinically relevant role to help identify which patients are at high risk for alcohol-related AFib. To get any health benefits from alcohol, keep your drinking light or moderate. Heavy drinking can make you more likely to get serious health problems like liver disease, cancer, and peptic ulcers, among others.

This article discusses heart attack symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. “Still, when patients ask me what they can do to avoid an AFib episode, I tell them the evidence suggests that they should minimize, if not completely eliminate, alcohol. But we have to consider quality of life as well, which is both relevant to arrhythmia symptoms and the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine once in a while for some.


The definition of binge drinking is consuming, on a single occasion , four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men. Dr. Cho also warns that if you have liver dysfunction or take other medicines that are processed through the liver, your risks might be different. Talk to your healthcare provider about how alcohol might interact with your prescription medicines. It’s possible that any heart benefit may be outweighed by other health risks, such as high blood pressure, pancreatitis, certain cancers and liver damage. “So it may very well be the case that alcohol – at least in moderation – could be healthy for some types of heart disease and harmful for other types of heart disease,” Marcus said. Your doctor will often advise you when it’s safe to start drinking alcohol again, from a medical perspective.

Activity or strong emotions can trigger angina. The pain usually goes away within minutes after the triggering event ends. In some people, especially women, the pain may be brief or sharp and felt in the neck, arm or back. Symptoms may go unrecognized at first, or they may only occur when the heart is beating hard like during exercise. As the coronary arteries continue to narrow, less and less blood gets to the heart and symptoms can become more severe or frequent.

Not enough good cholesterol — called high-density lipoprotein — also leads to atherosclerosis. Getting older increases the risk of damaged and narrowed arteries. If there’s too much cholesterol in the blood, the cholesterol and other substances may form deposits that collect on artery walls.

can alcohol cause heart attack

Because researchers used repeated measurements from the same individual, they served as their own control over time. Overall, more than half had an episode of AFib during the four-week study. The results back previous studies that have shown too much alcohol intake can increase the risk of heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attack, arrhythmias, stroke and death. A heart attack is a medical emergency that results from the interruption of blood flow to the heart. Around every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.

Prolonged drinking can cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy

One of the long-term effects of alcohol on your heart is alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This is when your heart-pumping function gets weaker and your heart gets larger due to changes from heavy alcohol use over a long period of time. If a person regularly drinks more alcohol than experts recommend, they can speak with a doctor about cutting back. People with risk factors for heart disease should be particularly cautious.

Alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy is a condition where your heart changes shape because of long-term heavy alcohol use. The changes to your heart’s shape cause long-term damage, leading to heart failure and severe problems. Abstaining from alcohol may help some people recover, but others will need medication or even surgery. It’s important to understand that alcohol indirectly increases the risk of heart attack by how itimpacts the heartand several other important organs and processes in the body. That fourth drink at the bar may feel like it’s relaxing you, but it’s actually affecting your body differently than you might think. Alcohol can affect your blood pressure, causing it to go up temporarily.

Do not try and drive yourself or someone else to the hospital. An ambulance is designed to transport people who may be having a heart attack and can get them prepared for the hospital while they are en route. The general recommendation for daily alcohol consumption is no more than one standard alcoholic beverage a day for women and two for men. However, the intake and regularity of one’s alcohol consumption is not the only factor in determining how alcohol can affect the cardiovascular system. Emotional stress, such as extreme anger, may increase the risk of a heart attack. Don’t take an aspirin unless your care provider or emergency medical personnel say to do so.

In some cases, the damage can even be reversed. It’s very important to stick with the treatment plan and to stop drinking alcohol during recovery. Alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy is a condition that can have major impacts on your life over time. While many people will recover from this condition if they abstain from alcohol, others will have symptoms and related problems for the rest of their life.

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  • Those materials, such as contrasts or tracers, are helpful because they can reveal blood flow blockages that would be very hard to see otherwise.
  • Other parts of the body that heavy drinking can affect include the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and immune system.
  • Consider taking an accredited first-aid training course, including CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator .

When symptoms do occur, they’re often those of heart failure. They commonly include fatigue, shortness of breath, and swelling of the legs and feet. What you should expect with this condition depends strongly on several factors. One of the biggest factors is your history with alcohol. This condition tends to be worse the more you drink and/or the longer you were a heavy drinker.

Stephen Kopecky, M.D., talks about the risk factors, symptoms and treatment of coronary artery disease . Learn how lifestyle changes can lower your risk. If you’re struggling with alcohol abuse, the best way to prevent a heart attack is to stop drinking entirely.

This will make it easier for them to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. It’s important to note that alcoholic cardiomyopathy may not cause any symptoms until the disease is more advanced. At that point, the symptoms are often the result of heart failure.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Recovery after a heart attack will vary from person to person based on the severity of the heart attack and how soon they received treatment. Take any medication you have been prescribed for chest pain. If the chest pain does not go away after you take the medicine, call 911. Symptoms may or may not precede a heart attack.

Heart attack

People with heart disease have an increased risk of a heart attack. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease that develops due to drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Working with an addiction specialist at an evidence-based rehabilitation program to change your behaviors around alcohol and stay sober. Working with a doctor to safely detox will reduce your risk of heart attack while you end your body’s dependence on alcohol. Continuing to work with a physician to stay healthy can manage any chronic cardiovascular problems that may be linked to previous alcohol abuse.

can alcohol cause heart attack

In cases where people don’t recover fully by abstaining from alcohol, most people will still see noticeable improvements in their symptoms. In some cases, even just reducing alcohol intake to light or moderate levels can also lead to improvements. However, not drinking at all is still the best course of action whenever possible. Alcohol has toxic effects, but your body can limit the damage and break alcohol down into non-toxic forms if you don’t drink too much too quickly. However, consistent heavy drinking strains those protective processes — especially in your liver — making them less effective.

Binge Drinking

Alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy can affect anyone who consumes too much alcohol, even those who don’t have alcohol use disorder. However, it’s more likely to happen in people with alcohol use disorders or who have genetic mutations that cause them to process alcohol more slowly. If you’re an occasional drinker, there’s no cause for worry.

They can trigger a coronary artery spasm that can cause a heart attack. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older are more likely to have a heart attack than are younger men and women. In the study – published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association – researchers examined blood samples from 2,525 adults ages from 2015 to 2018. Nearly all the participants were from the general population of Arkhangelsk, a city in northwest Russia.

A combination of healthy diets linked with longer life

An electrical current travels through your entire heart with every heartbeat, causing each part of the heart to squeeze in a specific sequence. Your heart’s shape is part of how that timing works, and when parts of your heart stretch, it can disrupt that timing. If it takes too long — even by tiny fractions of a second— that delay can cause your heart to beat out of sync . Similarly, alcohol can have a toxic effect on your heart and cause scar tissue to form. That scar tissue can also cause potentially life-threatening arrhythmias .

If you’re not sure, make a note to tune into how much you’re having over the course of the next month or so. If it’s more than recommended, try to consciously pace your drinking to help reduce the spike in your blood pressure that excessive alcohol causes. Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines eco sober house and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles.

How does alcohol affect a person’s blood sugar levels? This article provides information for people with diabetes. Additionally, some people with alcoholic cardiomyopathy may need a pacemaker or other surgeries. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib, according to the American Heart Association. Many of those suffer chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath and fatigue. But for others, AFib is symptomless, a potentially silent killer.