Alcohol Abuse in Young Adults and Its Impact on Heart Health
Alcohol (Image used for representational purpose only) (Photo Credits: Pixabay)

We are all aware of the fact that ‘too much of anything can turn out to be bad for you’. Today, young adults do not completely understand the importance of preventive health care and turn a deaf ear to the most advice given in this regard. For a majority of this group, socially recognized lifestyle habit such as alcohol consumption is the best way to celebrate. Although several studies say that moderate intake of alcohol helps in boosting Heart health, it is not the whole truth. How Much Alcohol is Safe for Health? 'No Safe Level of Alcohol Consumption' Concludes New Study.

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, a period of time, Hypertension puts a strain on the Heart muscles, resulting in Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). A number of young adults aged 18yrs to 35 years, who are addicted to alcohol abuse, are continuing to rise every year. What is Sober September? Reasons to Ditch the Alcohol for Good Health. 

The following Heart problems are caused due to alcohol abuse.

  • High Blood Pressure- Blood Pressure increases with consumption of every alcoholic drink. If you stop extreme intake of alcohol, then your Blood Pressure can gradually decrease and regain normalcy within 2-4 weeks
  • Arrhythmia (Irregular Heartbeats)- Extreme alcohol consumption or abuse can cause Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) which puts you on an increased risk of Heart problems. If one cuts down, there will be a rapid improvement in the Blood Pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy- Drinking excessively can weaken the Heart muscle, leading to pumping inefficiencies
  • Stroke- Heavy drinkers usually have higher chances of suffering a Stroke at an early age, as compared to those who drink less. It can lead to Cerebral Haemorrhage due to ruptured blood vessels. Here, the women are more susceptible than men. It is very vital to understand and keep in mind that drinking a large amount of alcohol contributes to a more severe form of Stroke at an early age in adults, who had no significant medical history in the past
  • Coronary Artery Disease- Alcohol consumption is not a major factor leading to Coronary Artery Disease, but it is one of the important causes of damage to the arteries.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease- Heavy drinking increases chances of suffering 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), which might lead to progressive weight gain
  • Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)- If you’re an adult with an existing Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), it is very important to consult a physician to understand if it’s safe to consume alcohol. Alcohol can raise the Blood Pressure, leading to abnormal heart rhythms; this can further aggravate the heart disease you are living with. If you’re a parent of a teen who has CHD, help them understand the impact of alcohol on their heart, so they learn to say ‘no’
  • Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)- According to the World Health Organization, every year 6 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 you consume alcohol the more will it affect the functioning of your Heart; this can even lead to death

 Apart from these, followings are the short term and long term effects of alcohol abuse, which can impact your Heart health.

Short-term effects:

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

This article has been contributed by Dr Hasmukh Rawat, Senior Interventional Cardiologist and HOD-Cardiology, Fortis Hospital, Mulund