Can alcohol diminish your heart health is the question that many are asking? Alcohol use disorder (AUD) includes the complex issues of alcohol abuse, dependence, and addiction. More than 15 million adults experience this widespread problem in the United States, making alcohol one of the most common and most widely abused central nervous system (CNS) depressants that requires nothing more than a valid ID showing that the consumer is at least 21 years of age.
But the widespread use of alcohol comes with widespread health issues. Some are more common than others, but one of the most critical health issues related to alcohol use is the issue of heart health. Here’s how alcohol can diminish your heart health.
Cardiovascular health is one of the most essential parts of maintaining overall health in the body. The benefits of cardiovascular health are widespread, including the overall health of our heart, sleep quality, metabolism, sexual health, and mental health, to name a few. In other words, cardiovascular health can either positively or negatively impact the big picture of our overall quality of life.
The impact of regular alcohol use can directly affect one’s quality of life regarding the various diseases that develop from AUD. For example, heart disease can be developed from ongoing AUD, especially when binge drinking. Ongoing alcohol use can lead to chronic issues with the most basic functions of our central nervous system, including regulating breathing and heart rate. Heart rate is affected by alcohol, not only when struggling with AUD but also when experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This leads to an effect on blood pressure levels, which can cause high blood pressure. This condition is also known as hypertension.
Compounding Dangers of High Blood Pressure
People may not be concerned with the possibility of high blood pressure, especially because many take medication to regulate their blood pressure levels. However, if excessive alcohol use causes high blood pressure, ongoing alcohol use can affect the effectiveness of some blood pressure medications. According to studies, the chain reaction of heart health and high blood pressure from alcohol use can lead to an increased risk of stroke, even for adults in their 20s and 30s. When our bodies experience ongoing high blood pressure, this damages major organs, especially our hearts. High blood pressure causes an increased workload on the heart muscle and almost 90% of strokes due to the narrowing and clogging of blood vessels. Eventually, this can be diagnosed as coronary artery disease.
Regaining Heart Health
When finding ways to improve our heart health, abstaining from damaging substances such as alcohol is one of the most important first steps to start repairing our bodies. However, suffering from AUD for months or even years before deciding to quit means we should be aware of the dangers and risks associated with alcohol withdrawal.
Since alcohol changes how the central nervous system works, a cold turkey approach to stopping alcohol use or a self-detox approach could leave us unprepared for some of the immediate effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and many other organs affected by alcohol use. For this reason, the decision to detox from alcohol should be made with the support of medical professionals who can help ensure the safest road to full recovery.
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