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St. Patty's Day: Alcohol And The Heart

Posted by Dan Cromar on 3/9/2016
St. Patrick's Day will be here soon. Many people celebrate this holiday by drinking alcohol in excess. However, if you choose to drink, then it is a good idea for you to limit your alcohol consumption in order to protect your heart. Below is a list of ways that alcohol can negatively affect your heart:

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a chronic condition that affects around 30 percent of adults. Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for high blood pressure. Your blood pressure will likely increase to an unhealthy level if you have more than three drinks at one time. This effect on blood pressure is temporary. However, if you repeatedly binge drink, then you are likely to develop chronic high blood pressure.

High blood pressure puts a strain on your heart because it is forced to work harder. It can also lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Cardiomyopathy
Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a condition called cardiomyopathy. This is a condition that causes the heart muscle to get bigger. Over time, the heart muscle will weaken. Many people with cardiomyopathy do not develop any symptoms. However, as the condition worsens, a person is likely to develop fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling in the legs and ankles.

A physical examination will reveal a heart murmur, which is an unusual sound. Cardiomyopathy will get worse if it is not treated. This condition can be controlled with medication, lifestyle changes and surgery.

Increase The Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
People who have diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease. In fact, it is estimated that 68 percent of diabetics who are over the age of 65 die from heart disease. Additionally, people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a stroke.

Excessive alcohol intake can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by causing weight gain. Obesity is one of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Additionally, if you already have diabetes, then you will have a harder time controlling your blood sugar if you drink excessively.

Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease is a condition that causes fatty deposits to build up in the arteries. These fatty deposits can cause the arteries to narrow, which can deprive the heart of oxygen and nutrients. It can also lead to a heart attack.

Excessive alcohol intake can increase the risk of coronary heart disease. In fact, it is estimated that two percent of coronary heart disease cases can be attributed to coronary heart disease.

Heart Arrhythmia
Many people believe that they can binge drink one time, and it will not have any effect on them. However, even if you only binge drink once, you are still putting yourself at risk for developing a heart arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is another term for an irregular heartbeat.

An arrhythmia puts you at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Your chance of having a heart attack is also 72 percent higher one hour after you binge drink.
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