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Lifestyle - Is Drinking Hard on the Heart?

We get a lot of questions on alcohol and health. We have covered the topic of alcohol previously, but not how it relates to heart health. Here's what you need to know:

Consuming too much alcohol can raise the levels of blood fats in the blood, also known as triglycerides. High triglycerides combined with high cholesterol is associated with fatty buildup in the arteries which increases risk of heart attack and stroke.

Drinking in excess can also lead to high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, and even death.

Binge drinking, 5 or more drinks in two hours for men and 4 for women, puts you at a higher risk for atrial fibrillation, an irregular or quivering heart beat that can lead to clots, stroke, or heart failure.

Over time, heavy drinking may also age the arteries prematurely, especially in men.

What about red wine? You may have heard that red wine is heart healthy, however there is no actual research that has proven the link between red wine and better heart health. There are components of red wine called flavonoids and other antioxidants that may reduce heart disease risk.

There are some studies that show those who drink moderate amounts have lower rates of heart disease than non-drinkers. However, the American Heart Association does not recommend drinking any form of alcohol to gain potential health benefits. So like many of our takeaways, find balance.

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