Most adults understand that alcohol addiction can be deadly. So many of us have experienced the ravages of alcoholism or what is now called alcohol use disorder firsthand or on people we love. Alcoholism hurts people in a myriad of ways. It destroys relationships. It causes extensive economic damage through the loss of jobs or missed work. Beyond this, alcoholism ruins both physical and mental health. If caught early enough, our bodies and minds might be able to recover. Long-term abuse, though, can cause irreversible harm.
Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the US. It crosses gender, racial, economic, and age groups. According to the CDC, 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths every year, making it one of the leading causes of preventable death. Because it is readily available, alcohol is hard to escape, especially for those people who live with addiction. Entering an alcohol detox center can help individuals get the support they need to heal from alcohol addiction and begin the process of recovery.
How Alcohol Impacts the Body
Because alcohol is easily accessible and socially embraced, it frequently influences an individual’s health. Alcohol use disorder, an addiction to alcohol or frequent alcohol abuse, has a major impact on the body’s organs and systems. Moderate drinking is considered an average of one or two drinks per day. But what constitutes a ‘drink’ can vary. For example, twelve ounces is considered one drink of beer, while for wine, it’s four ounces of wine, and for hard alcohols (whisky, vodka, etc.), only one and a half ounces. Also, alcohol is a source of excess calories, which can contribute to unnecessary weight gain, put stress on the body, and be harmful in the long term.
How Abuse of Alcohol Hurts the Heart
While there is some evidence that light or moderate drinking might help prevent heart disease by raising HDL or “good” cholesterol, helping prevent the damage done by LDL, “bad” cholesterol, and assisting in the prevention of blood clotting, which plays a role in reducing heart attacks but can also lead to easy bruising or bleeding, it is impossible to know if the benefits come from the alcohol itself or other factors such as antioxidants that can be found in other items.
- Triglycerides: Long-term alcohol abuse damages the liver, which is responsible for higher levels of triglycerides, also known as lipids, which have been linked to heart disease.
- Blood Pressure: People who binge drink are at risk of developing short-term higher blood pressure, which can cause harm over time. Those who drink heavily cause more lasting damage. High blood pressure can lead to stroke or heart attack.
- Dysrhythmias: Heavy drinking has been known to cause an irregular heartbeat. This means that the heart misses or adds a beat. When this happens, blood flow is impaired. Clots form, and a heart attack or stroke go up. Most arrhythmias resolve independently, but when the body is under constant attack from alcohol, they can become chronic and life-threatening.
These are just a few of the impacts excessive use of alcohol can have on the heart.
Take Action to Address Alcohol Use Disorder and Heart Disease by Reaching out to Fort Behavioral Health
Even if light or moderate drinking is beneficial, it is impossible to tell who will progress to abuse and addiction. The only way to prevent alcoholism is not to drink. That being said, people make their own choices. If your alcohol consumption has become a problem, there is a solution. You can regain a life worth living. There are people to help. Reach out to Fort Behavioral Health by calling 844.986.0260 today.