Binge drinking and alcoholism are dangerous for the body as they damage internal organs and cause disorders and illnesses. The heart is an important organ of the human body and performs functions that are essential for its proper functioning. Excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to the heart.
We have talked about the ill-effects of alcohol on the brain, the liver, and the pancreas in the previous articles of this series. This time, we will explore the effect of excessive alcohol on the heart.
How does the heart function?
The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart, blood vessels, and blood. This is the only system in the body that works incessantly every second of the day. It delivers oxygen and nutrients to the cells and removes carbon dioxide and other waste products from them.
The heart is at the center of this important process. It contracts and relaxes continually, pushing the blood through the veins and arteries. It beats nearly 100,000 times a day and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day.
There are two sides, or chambers, in the heart. One of these receives blood and the other pumps it back into the body. The right ventricle sends blood to the lungs to remove carbon dioxide in exchange for oxygen for the cells.
When the heart relaxes, the blood is sent back into its left ventricle. The heart then pumps the oxygenated blood to the body’s tissues and organs. Blood that goes through the kidneys allows the body to expel waste products. The heart follows electrical signals to pump continuously and at the proper speed to perform these tasks.
What are the effects of alcohol on the heart?
Alcohol consumption affects the heart in more ways than one. While heavy drinking weakens its muscles, it also affects the signaling system, resulting in a change in the pattern of the heartbeat. This results in critical illnesses, some of which include:
Hypertension/ irregular blood pressure
Binge drinking causes high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension occurs when the blood vessels stiffen. Too much drinking results in an increase of certain hormones which constrict the blood vessels.
Alcohol consumption may result in strokes even in the absence of coronary heart disease. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) highlighted that people who binge drink are 56 percent more likely to suffer an ischemic stroke within a period of 10 years. These people are also 39 percent more likely to suffer some form of stroke than those who never indulge in binge drinking.
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy occurs due to the weakening of the heart muscles. Due to this, neither can the heart contract effectively nor pump sufficient blood to the organs. This causes severe damage to the organs and tissues.
Alcohol can disturb this internal pacemaker system of the human body, causing the heart to beat too rapidly. This anomaly is known as arrhythmias. There are two types of arrhythmias that result due to alcohol abuse, namely:
Ventricular Tachycardia – Alcohol-induced damage can send a large number of signals to the lower part of the heart, causing too many contractions. As a result, the body may not get enough blood. Ventricular tachycardia may cause dizziness, cardiac arrest, and even death.
Atrial fibrillation – When the upper chambers of the heart shudder weakly but fail to contract, blood can collect and even clot in the chambers. If a clot travels to the brain, stroke can occur or if it travels to any other part of the body, it can result in blockage.
Get help if you are an alcoholic
Alcoholism can not only lead to a heart malfunction but may result in death. If you feel that your addiction is serious, you can get treated at one of the alcohol addiction treatment centers in U.S.A. Call our 24/7 Alcohol Addiction Get Help Helpline at 866-281–3014, to know about the best alcohol addiction treatment centers in U.S.A. or chat online with our experts to know more about alcohol addiction treatment centers.
Read the other articles of the series “What lies beyond hangovers”: