Risks associated with alcohol addiction–1: Adverse effects on heart

Alcohol use is not limited to a particular age group, caste or community. Over the past few years, a rising number of youth has reported their stint with drinking at least once in their life. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 33.1 percent of 15-year-olds admitted to having had at least one drink in their lives. The report also showed the prevalence of heavy drinking among adolescents, college-goers and adults.

Though drinking has become a cultural symbol, heavy consumption can result in multiple health problems by causing a host of infectious diseases and cardiovascular disorders. The fact that it is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States highlights the urgent need to address the problem in time and save precious lives.

How alcohol affects the heart

Immoderate and prolonged drinking can raise the potential risk of suffering from a faulty cardiovascular system. As the heart and blood vessels form a part of the cardiovascular system, anything absorbed by the blood vessels surely affects the effective working of the heart. Those who are fond of drinking must be cognizant of how the slow poison is putting pressure on their hearts every day.

Rapid heartbeat: Drinking alcohol can change the way the heart beats. It causes variations in the time lapse between consecutive heartbeats. Lack of prudence in drinking results in episodes of tachycardia or rise in heart rate due to interruptions in electric signals that produce a heartbeat. Complexities arising due to frequent instances of tachycardia vary depending on frequency, duration and degree and can result in blood clots causing heart attack or stroke.

High blood pressure: Drinking alcohol even once can result in a temporary rise in blood pressure while regular drinking can cause hypertension or high blood pressure. High blood pressure hardens and thickens the arteries, which is another risk factor for stroke.  Rise in blood pressure is one of the most significant factors for suffering from heart failure. In addition, weight gain from compulsive drinking poses a continuous threat to blood pressure. Researches have indicated how lowering alcohol intake can lower blood pressure.

Weakening of heart muscles: Incessant alcohol consumption can also cause cardiomyopathy, i.e., damaged heart muscle. This disorder, if left undetected, can result in congestive heart failure resulting from inefficient pumping of the heart muscles needed to generate enough pressure for blood circulation.

Interrupted heart beat: Variation in heart rhythm is called an arrhythmia. Arrhythmias can be due to alterations in the heart’s electrical system that can be due to intercepted signals, abnormal pathways, irritable heart cells, medications and various stimulants. Some common arrhythmias may include either too slow heartbeat (bradycardia) or fast paced heart rate (tachycardia). People afflicted with arrhythmias may suffer from cardiac arrest and stroke.

Atrial fibrillation: This disease is a type of arrhythmia that causes the upper chambers of the heart to convulse as opposed to normal heartbeat. Drinking alcohol can cause atrial fibrillation through various mechanisms resulting in ineffective circulation of the blood. This may result in formation of blood clots. If the clots break and remain in the bloodstream, they can reach any artery within the brain and cause an ischemic stroke.

Timely treatment helps

Some researchers and drinkers believe that moderate drinking is good for health, however, for few people, drinking proves to be more harmful. Physicians suggest that those with a history of heart failure, cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, diabetes, irregular heartbeat, obesity problems and pregnant women must abstain from liquor. They also advise people to avoid taking medications with liquor as it heightens the risk of other potential side effects.

The myth among drinkers is that they can get rid of their drinking problems by themselves believing they are in control of themselves. It is necessary for them to realize that such a belief is a sham and early intervention by health experts is crucial to curtail the problem before it takes an ugly shape.

If you or your loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction, the experts at the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline can connect you to the best alcohol dependence treatment in Florida. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-220-5381 or chat online with our experts to get details about some evidence-based alcohol rehabs in Florida, which offer comprehensive treatment plans to help a person achieve sobriety.