Alcohol consumption during festivals may affect your heart health

Dr Hasmukh Rawat, a Senior Interventional Cardiologist, and HOD-Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, shares how alcohol can further aggravate the Blood pressure of a person and how to tackle it

Image Source: Google
Image Source: Google

With the festival season in full swing, kitchens, across the county, are filled with aromatic, irresistible sweets and savouries. Add a few drinks to the menu, and your festivities light up. At the same time, your blood pressure spikes and cholesterol levels peak, risking the well-being of your heart.

Almost everyone considers consumption of alcohol as the primary method of celebration, forgetting the fact that it may put an end to festivities altogether.

When you consume alcohol regularly, and in large quantities, it slows down your heart rate and breathing levels, getting linked to high blood pressure (known as hypertension).

Over time, hypertension puts a strain on the heart muscles, resulting in Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD); coupled with the high-calorie food intake during festivals.

All the sweets are high on calories, causing increased pressure on the heart; here are a few additional problems, alcohol can cause during this festival season.

High blood pressure: Blood pressure increases with consumption of every alcoholic drink. It takes 2-4 weeks for your blood pressure to regain its normalcy if one completely stops alcohol consumption.

Arrhythmia (Irregular heartbeats): High alcohol consumption can cause arrhythmias, which increases the risk of Heart problems. If one cuts down, there will be a rapid improvement in one’s blood pressure.

Cardiomyopathy: Excessive drinking can weaken the Heart muscle, leading to pumping inefficiencies.

Stroke: Heavy drinkers usually have higher chances of suffering a stroke at an early age, compared to those who drink less. It can lead to cerebral haemorrhage due to ruptured blood vessels.

Here, women are more susceptible than men. It is vital to understand that drinking a large amount of alcohol contributes to a more severe form of Stroke at an early age in adults.

Coronary artery disease: Alcohol consumption solely may not lead to coronary artery disease, but with high-calorie food consumption, it will cause damage to the arteries.

Peripheral artery disease: Heavy drinking increases chances of Peripheral Artery Disease (narrowed blood vessels), which in turn can increase your Blood Pressure and Triglyceride levels (a type of fat found in the blood), and might lead to progressive weight gain.

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD): If you’re an adult with an existing Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), consult a physician to understand if it’s safe to consume alcohol. Alcohol can raise the Blood Pressure, leading to abnormal heart rhythms; it can further aggravate the pre-existing heart disease.

Myocardial infarction (Heart attack): According to the World Health Organization, every year six million people suffer from Myocardial Infarction. Higher the consumption of alcohol, stronger the effect of Myocardial Infraction.

Cardiac arrest: Alcohol abuse is one of the most common causes leading to cardiac arrest. The more alcohol you consume, the more it will affect the functioning of your Heart. It can even lead to death.

Apart from these, the following are some short-term effects of alcohol abuse:

  • Vision impairment
  • Lack of co-ordination (impact on motor skills)
  • Slurred speech (a problem in speaking)
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Memory loss
  • Lowered breathing