Excessive Alcohol Use Linked to Heart Conditions
El Dorado, AR – Winter holidays, parties and social gatherings often provide opportunities to overindulge, but when it comes to alcohol, moderation is important for maintaining good heart health. “Holiday heart syndrome,” or atrial fibrillation (AFib) brought on by binge drinking, can occur in healthy adults without any existing heart conditions and is commonly diagnosed around the holidays.
AFib is an irregular and sometimes rapid heart rhythm that if left untreated can lead to blood clots or strokes. Symptoms of AFib include a racing heartbeat which can feel like a flutter or quiver, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest pain. Luckily, holiday heart syndrome is reversible, but if heavy drinking persists, the risk of developing conditions like heart disease and heart failure increases.
Regular heavy drinking, more than eight drinks per week for women and 15 for men, and binge drinking can lead to ongoing high blood pressure, increased irregular heart rate and weakened heart muscles. According to the American College of Cardiology, eliminating alcohol abuse would result in over 34,000 fewer heart attacks, 73,000 fewer atrial fibrillation cases and 91,000 fewer patients with congestive heart failure.
“Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. Excessive drinking can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle. What’s more, alcohol is a source of excess calories and a cause of weight gain that can contribute to obesity and the long list of health problems that can go along with it.” says Dr. Joseph DeLuca “Bottom line, if you choose to drink, practice moderation.”
To cut down on drinking, consider removing alcohol from your home, picking a few days a week to abstain and always drink slowly. Stores and restaurants now offer many alcohol free alternatives like non-alcoholic beer, wine and liquor. At holiday gatherings, try sipping on a festive mock tail, sparkling cider or your favorite zero proof drink. If efforts to cut back don’t work, it may be time to speak with a healthcare professional.
“Moderate drinking is defined as an average of one drink per day for women and two for men. A drink might be less than you think: 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits. Some people should avoid even that much or not drink at all if they have certain heart rhythm abnormalities or have heart failure. If you have certain heart rhythm abnormalities speak with a healthcare professional before consuming alcohol.” says Dr. DeLuca
To find a primary care physician or to book an appointment, visit https://www.primarycareappointments.com/south-arkansas/ or call (870) 863-2340.
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