How Does Alcohol Affect the Cardiovascular System?

Excessive and problematic alcohol use can lead to the development of serious cardiovascular issues. These conditions can pose an imminent and equal danger to even the moderate drinker, let alone the persistent use of one who battles addiction.


Alcohol addiction has both direct and indirect impacts on heart health and family. Alcohol use affects more than just the heart, but all the vital functions of the entire cardiovascular system. 

Not coincidentally, the short-term drunken effects are a physical manifestation of everything that is terrible health-wise about alcoholism. To worsen matters, the body’s consistent exposure to alcohol over time often bears numerous permanent and irreparable heart repercussions. The proven strain on your heart and organs is nothing to overlook and needs to be respected, especially as you age.

So, how does alcohol affect the cardiovascular system? Sadly, this substance can impact one’s heart health in many ways. Combinations such as alcoholism and heart disease, congestive heart failure and alcoholism, and many more can become sobering realities in the lives of those who suffer from alcohol use disorder.

How Exactly is Alcohol Bad for the Heart?

The unhealthy nature of excessive alcohol use is universal knowledge. But, why it is bad for one’s health often isn’t fully understood by the user. Understanding the health problems tied directly to alcohol may help compel you to act on your or their behalf. Alcohol consumption doesn’t just affect the most important muscle in the body, but everything around it. The vessels, the blood, and more are affected. 

Alcohol and High Blood Pressure

An alcohol-induced rise in blood pressure is the fundamental introductory phase that eventually causes permanent or long-term health problems. One of the most common reasons a person develops alcohol-related heart issues can be tied to high blood pressure. Alcohol consumption stimulates a body hormone that causes blood vessels to constrict and pressure to rise. High blood pressure is not just taxing on your heart, but all other vital organs, especially the liver have to work harder in the process. Your main kidney, heart, and liver functions can only handle being in overdrive for so long before their deterioration accelerates.

Such heart problems don’t occur overnight. However, continued consumption even to a moderate degree eventually leads to irreparable damage. With the need to pump more blood faster as the effects of alcohol have on the body, the heart becomes strained. With such strain comes improper functionality. This increased pressure on your heart is even more taxing on your blood vessels that are already constricted in the presence of alcohol. Despite health issues that come with an alcohol habit, it’s not too late to prevent further heart muscle and artery damage.

Stroke Risk

Put simply, a stroke is a blockage between the arteries that send messages to the brain. These arteries carry valuable blood and oxygen to and from the brain. A disconnect of these neuronic pathways can cause permanent damage or death. 

Think of your arteries as message center pathways. Anything that places additional stress or pressure on blood and heart vessels, especially in the case of alcohol, significantly increases stroke risk. The scary link between alcohol and strokes may seem sudden and unexpected. 

But for anyone who struggles with alcohol, it is just a matter of time before reaching the body’s limit for abuse. For an individual who abuses alcohol, alcohol does that much more abuse to your body. Don’t become a ticking time bomb for a stroke.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a heart condition in which the heart muscle has been stretched beyond its normal size and capacity. The expanded heart muscle makes it more difficult for your heart to distribute blood to the rest of your body. Once it develops, you can only treat (not cure) this disease. Though all heart-related conditions are harmful, the added stress this condition puts on your heart is especially concerning. If you or someone you love has cardiomyopathy, getting immediate help is their only hope.

Remember, it’s not too late to live a long and healthy life even with cardiomyopathy. On the path to recovery, you’ll discover how much better you’ll feel when in rehab. With minimal medication, cardiomyopathy is easily treatable. However, alcohol consumption that coincides with a condition such as cardiomyopathy is a daily gamble on life. 

Alcohol and Heart Disease

Heart disease is defined as an abnormal deterioration or unnatural damage to heart tissue, the muscle itself, or blood vessels. All such deteriorative descriptions are the inevitable long-term side effects of continued alcohol use. You can stop or minimize your chance of developing heart disease by removing alcohol completely from the picture.

On the other hand, the combination of alcohol and heart disease is a lethal cocktail that could claim the life of your loved one at any moment. A person who suffers from the abuse of alcohol and heart disease will require immediate medical help and professional rehab.

How You Can Help a Loved One Suffering From Alcohol Abuse

Coming to the understanding that one family member’s struggle is a full family burden is the first step of any successful rehab. Binding together helps both parties see firsthand that nobody is alone in this family’s heartache. Helping free a family member of their strongholds doesn’t just set the abuser free, it sets the family free. Sometimes in an even greater capacity. The only misery that could possibly match the struggle of individual addiction is the toll it takes on the parents and siblings of addicts. 

This family unification is equally beneficial for both the addicted and the support group behind one’s rehab. Parents, grandparents, and siblings of addicts can especially be the voice of reason in many unreasonable circumstances. Don’t be discouraged for there is no voice more powerful than that of a loved one. Allow the health and family consequences below to be your motivational voice throughout this life-saving action or intervention. 

As mentioned, it’s more than just the abuser’s health and well-being that are affected. How addiction affects siblings and other family members mentally and physically as equally and in many cases more so than abusers. Parents and siblings of drug addicts need medical training to cope and encourage their family members in recovery.

The Last and Greatest Hope

Whether you have been suffering from alcoholism for a short while or for several years, Kingsway Recovery is your beacon of hope in the darkness. You can overcome alcohol use disorder and find the help you need to end substance use in your life. If you’ve been wondering about the effects of alcohol on your body, including your heart, now is the time to get the information you need. And, now is the time to prevent alcoholism from negatively affecting your health.

Here at our South Jersey addiction rehab facility, we provide compassionate care to those who are dealing with substance abuse. Individuals who come to Kingsway Recovery for help will find a caring staff that is ready and willing to assist them on their journey to recovery.

Kingsway Recovery has the treatment options, therapy approaches, and other necessary tools to help individuals end alcohol and drug addictions. This is the most important crossroads of your life. Do what you can do to save yourself from the trenches of a dangerous addiction. Then, let us do the rest.

Take the first step of the rest of your life and reach out to an alcohol rehab professional here in South Jersey. Our team is here to walk with you as you pursue a life that is free from alcoholism. Contact us today.