February is American Heart Month and great time to brush up on how alcohol can negatively affect your heart and overall health. Over the years there have been contradictory studies regarding the pros and cons of certain alcohols such as red wine on the heart. Results seem to suggest that this really varies by person, and potential benefits may be in the components of red wine, which are available through other sources as well. And it may also have to do with other factors such as exercise and lifestyle, not just drinking.
But the facts are clear that drinking can take a toll on your heart health. Excessive or prolonged drinking can lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease or a stroke. High blood pressure puts greater stress on your heart to pump efficiently and circulate blood through your body. Too much stress and drinking can actually weaken your heart muscle which also puts it under more strain. This can increase your risk of suffering from a stroke, heart attack or heart failure. Alcohol can also contribute to an irregular heartbeat which can add to your risk of having a heart attack.
When your heart muscles, arteries, or vessels become damaged, this keeps your heart from working as effectively as possible. It is not able to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your organs and cells or properly remove toxins and carbon dioxide from the blood as well.
It is not a good idea to start drinking because you think it will protect your heart. The best way to promote better heart health is to abstain from drinking and adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet, moderate exercise, low stress, and a healthy blood pressure. If your drinking has become problematic, it is a good idea to seek treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab facility so that you can better protect your heart, health, and overall well-being.