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Drinking And Heart Attack

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Heart Attack And Drinking Alcohol: Know The Symptoms

Dr. Scott Davis Talks Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Heart

If your chest hurts after drinking alcohol, do not ignore it. Ignoring chest pain after drinking alcohol can have severe health implications, such as heart attack or stroke. Its important to note the various symptoms of a heart attack, especially when drinking.

Some common symptoms of a heart attack while drinking include:

  • Pain in the upper neck, jaw, back, or arm
  • Difficulty breathing

Can Alcohol Cause Chest Pain

Yes, alcohol can cause chest pain, but why does it happen? Well, alcohol causes chest pain because it increases blood pressure, which causes an irregular heartbeat , which then reduces blood flow to the heart and causes chest pain . Long-term use of alcohol and chest pain are also connected because heavy drinking can cause heart muscles to expand, weakening the heart and inhibiting its ability to pump. As a result, chest pain and heart disease can occur.

Additionally, the expansion of heart muscles caused by prolonged drinking can also lead to a condition called alcohol cardiomyopathy. This is when expanded and weakened heart muscles put extra pressure on blood vessels, which could then increase the risk of heart failure and prevent the heart from pumping fluid throughout the body properly, leading to fluid build-up. Heavy drinkers and people with alcohol use disorders are at a higher risk of experiencing chest pain after drinking and other similar side effects. If youre frequently experiencing these symptoms, then it may be a sign that you need alcohol detox and treatment.

Study Links Alcohol Abuse With Increased Risk Of Atrial Fibrillation Heart Attack Congestive Heart Failure

Contact: Nicole Napoli, [email protected], 202-375-6523


Alcohol abuse increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, heart attack and congestive heart failure as much as other well-established risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and obesity, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Despite advances in prevention and treatments, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the US. Reducing alcohol abuse might result in meaningful reductions of heart disease, according to the researchers.

We found that even if you have no underlying risk factors, abuse of alcohol still increases the risk of these heart conditions, said lead researcher Gregory M. Marcus, MD, director of clinical research in the Division of Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Completely eradicating alcohol abuse would result in over 73,000 fewer atrial fibrillation cases, 34,000 fewer heart attacks, and 91,000 fewer patients with congestive heart failure in the United States alone, the researchers said.

We were somewhat surprised to find those diagnosed with some form of alcohol abuse were at significantly higher risk of a heart attack, Marcus said. We hope this data will temper the enthusiasm for drinking in excess and will avoid any justification for excessive drinking because people think it will be good for their heart. These data pretty clearly prove the opposite.

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Worst Drinks That Can Increase Your Risk Of A Heart Attack

If you want to live a long and healthy life, it’s absolutely crucial that you take good care of your heart. Roughly 805,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack each year that’s one heart attack every 40 seconds. And while there is no guarantee that you won’t experience a heart attack at some point in your life no matter your lifestyle, there are some changes you can make to help decrease your risk.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. The cause of that blockage is primarily due to a buildup of fatty deposits, including harmful cholesterol , that ultimately form plaque. This buildup is known as atherosclerosis and can cause your arteries to narrow and harden, ultimately inhibiting blood flow. Heart attack is often a result of heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease .

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According to the CDC, about 1 in every 5 heart attacks are silent. This means that about 20% of individuals who have a heart attack won’t even know they had one, but the damage can still be harmful. Even though our heart health isn’t completely in our control, there are a few elements that are. One component, for example, that plays an enormous role in overall heart health is dietwhich includes beverages. When it comes to diet we oftentimes don’t think about the things we’re drinking as much as we think about the things we’re eating.

Should You Go For Coffee Green Tea Or Both

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The study, published in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, specifically looked at the benefits of drinking either coffee or green tea and how to decide which should be your drink of choice.

While past research had examined the role these two drinks can play in heart health for people without a history of heart disease, this study took things a step further, looking into what happens after youve already made it through an initial cardiovascular event.

The team of researchers analyzed the data from more than 46,000 participants from communities across Japan. Every single person was asked to complete questionnaires that included information about everything from their demographics and lifestyle to their medical history and diet.

Next, the researchers divided them all into three groups based on whether they had a history of a stroke, a myocardial infarction , or neither.

Then they took a deep dive into how much coffee or green tea the participants drank regularly, versus their chances of death.

And the results will make you want to pull out your mug:

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Moderate Drinking And Heart Failure

Another analysis of eight research studies that involved 202,378 participants examined the risk of heart failure for the following levels of alcohol consumption:

  • 3 drinks per week
  • 14 drinks per week
  • 21 drinks per week

For all levels of alcohol consumption under 14 drinks per week, the investigators reported a “non-linear relationship” between alcohol consumption and the risk of heart failure.

However, for 14 drinks a week, the relative risk of heart failure among participants began to range up to 10 percent higher than nondrinkers and for 21 drinks per week began to range up to 48 percent higher.

The study concluded that moderate alcohol consumption is linked to a reduced risk of heart failure, but that means less than 2 drinks a day.

New Methods For Analyzing Alcohol Consumption And Stroke

Investigators are using new methods to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption and CV outcomes. One such method includes Mendelian randomization, an epidemiologic study design that incorporates genetic information into traditional epidemiologic methods. Mendelian randomization offers an opportunity to test the relationship between a causal factor and a specific outcome . Holmes and colleagues used Mendelian randomization to determine if a relationship exists between drinkers with a certain variant in the alcohol dehydrogenase ADH1B gene , which is associated with reduced alcohol consumption, and the likelihood of having fatal or nonfatal CHD and stroke. The investigators found that individuals with the A allele variant ADH1Brs1229984 consumed less alcohol and had a reduced risk of CHD and ischemic stroke compared with noncarriers. This implies that lower alcohol consumption, even in light-to-moderate drinkers, was beneficial for CV health. These results challenge the findings from several of the studies mentioned earlier that support a cardioprotective effect of low-to-moderate alcohol consumption. They also suggest that traditional epidemiologic studies may not capture important nuances related to selection bias or other errors that can affect study results .

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Excessive Drinking And Heart Attack Risk

Drinking to excess is a bad idea for various reasons. It can cause kidney failure and liver damage, as well as an increased level of mental impairment. But another reason is that its bad for your heart. Binge drinking is especially bad. Binge drinking is when a person consumes a large quantity of alcohol in a short period of time. It wreaks havoc on a persons entire body, including increasing blood pressure and causing stress on arteries. This stress can lead to strokes and an increased heart attack risk. And the effects can occur quickly. Unlike damage that builds up over time in a person who drinks in excess on a frequent basis, binge drinking can cause severe damage within hours of the event occurring.

Can Alcohol Have Any Benefits For Your Heart

Study: Alcohol abuse damages heart

There is some evidence that low levels of alcohol consumption can be protective against coronary heart disease, but only in a specific section of the population women over 50 years of age.

Even for women over 50, the risks of harm from alcohol outweigh any small benefit. The evidence for the small benefit to heart health doesnt justify drinking to protect your heart.

This protective effect is only seen with low levels of alcohol consumption and doesnt appear to be dependent on the type of alcoholic drink for example, there is no evidence that red wine offers extra protection.7

At all levels of alcohol consumption above one unit a day the protective effect disappears and there is instead an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

However, even low-level drinking increases the risks of other very serious illnesses including other types of heart disease, several types of cancer, brain damage, pancreatitis and alcohol-related liver disease. The safest level of drinking is to drink no alcohol at all.8,9

Recommended Reading: What Causes A Heart Attack

Caffeine Has Many Metabolic Effects For Example:

  • It stimulates the central nervous system.
  • It releases free fatty acids from adipose tissue.
  • It affects the kidneys, increasing urination, which can lead to dehydration.

Caffeine is in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate and some nuts. Whether high caffeine intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease is still under study.

Many studies have been done to see if there’s a direct link between caffeine, coffee drinking and coronary heart disease. The results are conflicting. This may be due to the way the studies were done and confounding dietary factors. However, moderate coffee drinking doesn’t seem to be harmful.

Caffeine-habituated individuals can experience “caffeine withdrawal” 1224 hours after the last dose of caffeine. It resolves within 2448 hours. The most prominent symptom is headache. They can also feel anxiety, fatigue, drowsiness and depression.

How Much Alcohol Is Safe To Drink

Generally speaking, coming home and unwinding with a beer or two, or a glass of wine, is considered safe for most people. Scientists have stated that one alcoholic beverage for women and two for men per day are within acceptable consumption norms. However, there isnt a lot of study into the good effects of alcohol, but the negative effects of too much alcohol are prevalent and well-known. Moderation is key, and if you keep this in mind when making your beverage choices, you should be fine with having a few drinks with your friends or at a family gathering. However, drinking more than is recommended, binge drinking, or otherwise abusing alcohol can have long-lasting negative results.

Drinking alcohol isnt a bad thing. Consuming a drink after work is a good way to wind down and relax after a long day. As long as drinking remains an activity that isnt necessary and doesnt involve imbibing too many drinks each night or binging periodically, then cheers and enjoy that can of beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail. However, if a person feels that they need to drink in order to function, then that person should seek medical treatment or assistance.

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Quitting Alcohol Use With Heart Problems

Alcohol can cause some heart issues that can get worse with chronic alcohol abuse. But thats not the only way alcohol can affect your heart. Alcohol withdrawal makes alcohol the most dangerous substance to quit cold turkey. If you drink excessively and youve been diagnosed with a heart issue that is caused by alcoholism or some other source, its important to address your alcohol use disorder as soon as possible. However, quitting cold turkey is ill-advised. As a depressant, alcohol is in a class of psychoactive substances that can be dangerous and even life-threatening during alcohol withdrawal. Depressants work to slow down central nervous system activity. When you drink excessively for a long time, youll become chemically dependent on alcohol.

Dependence occurs when your brain adapts to the consistent presence of an active chemical by adjusting your natural brain chemistry. Your brain may respond to alcohol by decreasing your natural inhibitory chemicals and increasing excitatory chemicals. You can tell when this is happening when your alcohol tolerance grows. If youve been a heavy drinker for a long time, its likely that you can drink more now without feeling the effects than you were when you first started drinking. In fact, tolerance is often thought of as a mark of being able to drink more without consequences. However, being able to hold your liquor when drinking a lot is a sign of alcohol use problems.

  • Increase heart rate
  • Changes in breathing

How Is Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy Treated

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The first step in treating alcoholic cardiomyopathy is to stop drinking. Continuing to use or misuse alcohol can cause your condition to worsen and frustrate any attempts to repair the damage to your heart. Addiction treatment is a multidisciplinary process thats used to treat the physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects of substance abuse. When you stop drinking, some of the long-term effects may begin to reverse. Your liver has a remarkable ability to repair and heal. Liver damage may begin to reverse immediately, repairing dramatically within a few weeks.

Your heart may be less efficient when it comes to repairing, but quitting alcohol misuse can help it to heal. However, there are other things your doctor may recommend to help your heart recover from alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Like other forms of heart disease, some lifestyle changes may allow your heart to recover from excessive alcohol use. Your doctor may recommend a low-salt diet and other heart-healthy dietary changes.

You may also be prescribed medications for specific conditions that can be dangerous for your heart. Diuretics can help remove excess water and salt from your heart thats caused by fluid retention. If you have hypertension, your doctor may prescribe beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors to lower your blood pressure. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy recovery time will depend on the extent of damage.

Also Check: Early.signs Of Heart Attack

Heart Disease And Alcohol

If you dont drink already, dont start. If you do drink, talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol in moderation. Some people should not drink at all, like women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, people under the age of 21 and people with certain health conditions. Drinking too much alcohol can raise the levels of some fats in the blood known as triglycerides. A high triglyceride level combined with high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol has been associated with fatty buildup in the artery walls. That, in turn, can increase the risk ofheart attack andstroke.

Excessive drinking can also lead tohigh blood pressure,cardiomyopathy,heart arrhythmia and even death from alcohol poisoning. And it can interfere with the brains communication pathways, affecting the way the brain works. Plus, all the extra calories from drinking alcohol can lead to obesity and a higher risk of developing diabetes.

However, moderate drinking , appears to protect some people against heart disease. One drink is 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. But before you break out that cocktail shaker, know this: No research has proved a cause-and-effect link between drinking alcohol and better heart health. The best-known positive health effect of alcohol is a small increase in HDL, or good cholesterol. But regular physical activity is a more effective way to raise HDL cholesterol.

Alcohol And The Vasculature System

A person who drinks alcohol heavily will likely have abnormal cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a normal and healthy part of the blood, but they can malfunction. Cholesterol is large molecules that carry lipids to various parts of the body, and lipids are used to construct the membranes of cells.

When there are too many lipids , they scratch the inner membranes of the veins and arteries, which causes mechanical damage, and different cells are recruited in the blood to help repair the damage.

However, since blood is designed to clot when it repairs the damage, it can mistakenly build a clot on the inside of the vasculature system. If this clot continues to build, it can break off and travel to the veins that feed oxygen to the heart. If the clot gets lodged there, the oxygen supply feeding the blood cells is cut off, causing a heart attack.

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Binge Drinking Can Make Your Heart Beat Irregularly

Sometimes known as Holiday Heart Syndrome, binge drinking can make your heart beat irregularly. It gets its name because cases are more common around holiday times or after weekends, when people tend to drink more.6

Holiday Heart Syndrome tends to come on after episodes of heavy drinking typically at least 15 units in a 24-hour period.

The irregular heart beat caused by holiday heart syndrome will make you feel breathless, tired and affect your blood pressure. These factors together may make you feel quite unwell as well as increasing the risk of a heart attack or sudden death.6

Mechanisms Related To Alcohols Positive And Adverse Effects On Cv Conditions

Alcohol Bad for the Heart (Alcohol and AFib)

Many of the CV conditions outlined above share the pathophysiologic process of atherosclerosis and inflammation. Therefore, alcohol may exert its protective or enhancing effects on these conditions by modifying three broad categories of mechanisms: risk factors , hemostatic factors , and inflammation. In addition, and specific to CHD, alcohol consumption may modulate ischemiaâreperfusion mechanisms as blood flow is restored to tissues after oxygen deprivation. Several of these potential mechanisms are briefly reviewed below.

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