How Alcohol Affects Your Heart

Alcohol abuse tied to cardiovascular problems like heart failure, heart attack

(RxWiki News) Alcohol abuse may put your heart health at risk, according to a new study.

In fact, according to this study, abusing alcohol may put your heart at risk as much as other risk factors like having high blood pressure, having diabetes, smoking or being obese.

The potential consequences? An increased risk of cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart failure or atrial fibrillation.

This finding led the University of California, San Francisco, researchers behind this study to suggest that reducing alcohol abuse could meaningfully reduce heart problems among the general public.

This study looked at a database of all California residents older than 21 who received inpatient or emergency medical care or ambulatory surgery between 2005 and 2009 — for a total of 14.7 million patients. Around 268,000 were diagnosed with alcohol abuse.

Compared to those who were not abusing alcohol, patients diagnosed with alcohol abuse were more than twice as likely to have congestive heart failure, twice as likely to have atrial fibrillation and 1.4 times as likely to have a heart attack, this study found. Before obtaining these numbers, the researchers took into account other risk factors.

The study authors estimated that reducing alcohol abuse to zero in the United States would prevent 91,000 cases of congestive heart failure, 73,000 cases of atrial fibrillation and 34,000 heart attacks.

Talk to your doctor about how much, if any, alcohol is safe for you to consume.

This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Information on study funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

Review Date: 
January 2, 2017