The Effects of Alcohol on the Heart

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The Effects of Alcohol on the Heart

The Effects of Alcohol on the Heart

Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States. Despite the possible repercussions of alcohol abuse, people still drink it every day. Alcohol addiction is well-known for the damage it delivers the kidneys and liver, but it also injures other parts of the body. Alcohol and heart disease go hand in hand, but many don’t think about the possible heart problems they can develop from excessive drinking. People who develop a dependency on alcohol and can’t stop drinking on their own should take the first step to their recovery with our alcohol detox treatment

How Alcohol Affects the Heart

In addition to the other risks of alcohol abuse, like alcohol use disorder, binge drinking is also associated with heart attacks and heart disease. The effects of alcohol on the heart can lead to life-threatening heart issues. The long-term effects of alcohol on the heart involve different heart diseases and conditions like coronary heart disease, heart attacks, arrhythmia, and alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Individuals battling with alcoholism can avoid these health threats by receiving treatment at our rehab facility in Florida.

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease, or ischemic heart disease, is the most common type of heart disease in the U.S. This heart disease is caused by a buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. This build of plaque causes the arteries to narrow over time, disrupting necessary blood flow.¹ Alcohol abuse increases the risk of coronary heart disease because it can affect blood clot formation, blood pressure, and inflammation in the heart.²

Heart Attack

Heart attacks commonly result from coronary heart disease, which is tied to binge drinking. A heart attack occurs when the coronary arteries are blocked. This prevents blood and oxygen from flowing to the heart. Alcohol also increases blood pressure, which can cause a heart attack or a stroke. Binge drinking also weakens the muscles of the heart, which can lead to a heart attack. These can cause heart failure, or can even result in death.³


An arrhythmia, or atrial fibrillation, refers to an irregular heart rate. While someone is experiencing an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too quickly or too slowly. When the heart beats too fast, it’s referred to as tachycardia. When the heart beats too slow, it’s called bradycardia. Arrhythmia is caused by changes in the heart tissue or changes in the electrical impulses that control the heartbeat.4

Alcohol abuse can increase the risk of arrhythmia because it disrupts the electrical signals that control your heartbeat. 

Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy, or alcoholic myocarditis, is a heart disease that results from alcohol abuse. The muscles of the heart are weakened after a long period of binge drinking, preventing it from pumping blood. Because the heart is unable to pump out blood normally, it begins to expand to be able to hold all of the extra blood it’s not releasing. The walls and muscles of the heart can begin to thin and weaken from the strain of holding all of this extra blood. This can cause heart failure, which is when the heart can no longer function on its own. This lack of blood flow can also lead to other life-threatening problems.5

These are just some of the effects of alcohol on the heart. At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we know how difficult it can be to fight addiction on your own. We encourage people struggling with addiction to get help with our alcohol addiction treatment.

If you or a loved one are caught in the grips of addiction, you don’t have to fight it alone. Call us now to get help at 888-280-4763


  1. CDC- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
  2. NIH- Alcohol’s Effects on the Risk for Coronary Heart Disease
  3. BHF- High blood pressure
  4. NIH- Arrhythmia
  5. CDC- Cardiomyopathy

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