woman stopped alcohol healthier heart


Drinking alcohol in large quantities can cause an increased heart rate temporarily due to its slowing breathing and reducing oxygen levels in your body.

Alcohol stands beside obesity, smoking and stress as one of the biggest contributors to heart disease. 

Anyone who has felt their heart race after drinking too much or is in the throes of a hangover knows that drinking too much puts a strain on this vital organ. But what factors should we consider, and what about some studies that say very small amounts of wine are good for your heart?

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Does Alcohol Increase Heart Rate?

Alcohol is a depressant and reduces your breathing rate. Less oxygen enters your system, and your brain signals your heart to increase its pumping rate to compensate for reduced breathing.

Whether it has only happened occasionally or every time you drink too much, most people have experienced a racing heart from alcohol. The only exception is those who are very moderate and have no underlying heart issues. 

Why Does Alcohol Increase My Heart Rate?

Dilation of blood vessels

What is going on physically when we drink alcohol? Alcohol enters our bloodstream and starts to circulate in the body. Because the heart is essentially a pump for blood, sooner or later, the alcohol goes through the heart. 

Ethanol affects the functioning of the heart in several ways. It begins with your blood vessels. Alcohol changes how your heart pumps. Dilation makes blood flow more freely, which means it needs to be pumped quicker, stressing the heart as it tries to keep up. 

effects of alcohol on the heart and body

Stress and Anxiety from Alcohol

Although we often think of a drink to calm down or deal with stress, there is a strong link between excessive drinking and anxiety. 

The effect of alcohol on the brain is the cause. The part of the brain responsible for relaxation and calm is activated by alcohol. Long-term, this leaves this area overstimulated and unable to soothe nerves without alcohol. 

A rapid heart rate is frequently associated with anxiety and stress. You can recognize this increased heart rate because exercise or deliberate movement doesn’t make it worse. 

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How to Slow Heart Rate After Drinking Alcohol 

If your heart is racing alcohol, you should stop drinking right away. Your heart is a vital organ and needs to be taken care of. 

An increased heart rate shows that you are straining your circulatory system, which can lead to dire consequences. 

If you find you get heart palpitations after drinking or the next day, you should, at a minimum, cut down on drinking. Binge drinking is the most common cause of heart rate increase from alcohol. 

If you find your heart racing immediately after drinking, you may be allergic to ethanol. This usually comes with other symptoms such as skin flushing and runny nose like hay fever. 

For those who frequently experience these symptoms, it can be a sign of serious problems and stopping drinking may be necessary. 

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Signs of Heart Disease from Alcohol

Formally known as alcoholic cardiomyopathy, it is also referred to as alcoholic heart. This condition is where the heart muscles stretch and get bigger due to frequent overwork from dilation. Changing the shape of your heart in this way makes it weaker, and it can’t pump blood either. 

Symptoms of Alcoholic Heart are:

  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Chest Pain (worse with exercise)
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Liver problems
  • Short of breath (worse with exercise)
  • Swelling in the extremities (legs, feet & ankles)
  • Appetite Loss
  • Rapid or variable heart rate

Clots and Heart Attacks

Alcoholism is linked to weight problems as well as heart disease. People who drink too much are more likely to have nutritional problems, including being obese

Drinking, especially high-calorie drinks, can cause weight gain. Being overweight causes other problems in your heart with the build-up of plaque from cholesterol. This narrows your arteries and can lead to heart attacks.

For this reason, it is recommended that people who suffer from heart problems or have had heart attacks in the past avoid alcohol as much as possible. For help with your health and alcohol consumption, you should consider alcohol detox supplements

High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is a known problem for heavy drinkers, and people with high blood pressure are discouraged from drinking too much. 

High blood pressure is caused by blood being pumped too hard through your arteries. There is a short-term increase in blood pressure when we drink occasionally. 

However, frequently drinking too much can lead to a long-term increase. This condition leaves you vulnerable to hardening in the arteries, resulting in heart attack and stroke. This can be dangerous in those already predisposed to or with high blood pressure.

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Is Wine Good for Your Heart?

The vast majority of studies show that alcohol is bad for your heart. A few studies showed a slight improvement in heart health in post-menopausal women from drinking a small glass of wine occasionally. 

This study was looked into by The Lancet’s 26-year-long study on alcohol use across the world. The study determined that the improvement shown in these studies was likely because of the behaviour rather than the actual alcohol. 

Basically – people who can moderate their alcohol are more likely to be moderate in other areas like food, smoking, and exercise and, therefore, healthier not because of the alcohol but their lifestyle.

More biological studies showed that one drink improved blood flow, helping the heart pump blood around more easily. Any more than one led to a decrease in flow and increased heart rate, causing strain on the heart.

The World Health Organization recommends that instead of drinking small amounts of alcohol, abstaining from drinking a healthy diet and exercising are the best ways to improve your heart health.


https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2/fulltext Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7400254/ Is There a Link between Different Types of Alcoholic Drinks and Obesity? An Analysis of 280,183 UK Biobank Participants