It’s no secret that abusing alcohol comes with numerous physical and emotional health risks. Unfortunately, such abuse remains a global issue, with research showing that 88,000 Americans die each year from alcohol-related problems.
Along with other cardiovascular complications, it’s possible to experience a heart attack from alcohol. Here are the facts you need to know.
What Is Alcohol Abuse?
While drinking alcohol may be reasonable in moderation, heavy drinking or binge drinking can create severe problems. Therefore, people who struggle with their drinking may struggle with alcohol abuse.
Alcohol abuse exists on a spectrum, but some of the main symptoms include:
- Drinking more than usual more often than usual
- Unsuccessfully trying to stop or cut down on drinking
- Avoiding or limiting other activities to drink
- Lying about alcohol consumption to others
- Spending a significant amount of time drinking (or recovering from drinking)
- Experiencing intense cravings for alcohol
- Drinking despite the impact it has on other obligations or relationships
- Getting into hazardous situations as a result of drinking
- Drinking despite its effects on mental health
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop or cut down from drinking
These symptoms often escalate over time. Unfortunately, many people dismiss their alcohol use during the early stages. They might justify their drinking as a way they cope with stress, or they might compare themselves to people who typically drink more than them.
What Are The Short-Term Effects of Abusing Alcohol?
Alcohol impacts nearly every part of the body. It can affect judgment, coordination, impulsivity, and essential bodily functions. The more someone drinks, the more at risk they are for facing short or long-term consequences.
Even just drinking 1-2 drinks affects your heart. That’s because alcohol expands your blood vessels and speeds up the heart rate. This physiological process often makes people feel more warm, talkative, and happy.
After 4-6 drinks, the alcohol starts impacting one’s judgment and decision-making. At this point, people often feel more impulsive and uninhibited.
After 8-12 drinks, alcohol significantly impairs coordination, reaction times, speech, and vision. Depending on one’s tolerance, the amount can quickly reach toxic levels. The body will attempt to release alcohol through the urine, but it’s common to also experience severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea as a result.
After more than 12 drinks, the person faces a considerable risk for alcohol poisioning (especially when drinking quickly). At this point, the body may stop breathing, causing someone to slip into a coma.
What Are The Long-Term Effects of Abusing Alcohol?
Drinking excessively will take a toll on the human body. Some of the main risks include:
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Bowel cancer
- Sexual dysfunction
- Breast cancer
Moreover, abusing alcohol often severely impacts one’s emotional health. Drinking heavily can cause significant relationship, financial, employment, and legal problems. It can also exacerbate preexisting mental health conditions like depression or anxiety.
Can Alcohol Cause a Heart Attack?
Alcohol can certainly trigger heart attacks. This can happen as a result of chronic, long-term drinking.
But a binge drinking heart attack may also occur. That’s an important consideration for individuals in recovery from alcohol abuse. Because the body starts repairing itself, relapsing by binge drinking may actually heighten the risk of a fatal complication.
In the US, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the main symptoms. They include:
- Feeling weak, faint, or lightheaded
- Experiencing intense chest pain or bodily discomfort (that may ebb and flow over several minutes)
- Experiencing pain in the back or neck
- Feeling discomfort on one side of the body (specifically in the arms or shoulders)
- Having shortness of breath
If you think you are having a heart attack, it’s imperative to call 911 immediately. Timing is critical when it comes to ensuring you get the appropriate treatment.
Abusing alcohol is often a progressive issue. Abuse can happen when you feel like you can’t stop or cut down on your drinking. It can also occur when you lie, conceal, or make great efforts to drink- despite severe consequences.
Getting help can make a significant difference. Recovery is possible. Contact us today at (866) 578-7471to to learn more.