As Heart Health month comes to an end, the final topic is regarding alcohol consumption. Similar to smoking, alcohol is a toxin we can control putting into our bodies. Keep reading to learn about the effects alcohol can have on your heart.
Alcohol is a depressant, when consumed it slows down the brain's control over your body. When used in large amounts quickly, alcohol can slow your heart rate and breathing down to dangerous levels. Those who drink regularly may feel they don’t feel the effects as much, this is usually due to developing a tolerance. Remember, the more you drink the more damage you can cause.
The effects of alcohol
Research has shown a clear link between large amounts of alcohol consumption and increased blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to developing cardiovascular diseases, increasing your chance of a heart attack or stroke.
Are there benefits to consuming alcohol in moderate amounts?
Studies have been unable to determine whether moderate alcohol consumption or the participants' healthy lifestyles are to thank for the few benefits seen. The risks of alcohol far outweigh the benefits.
How much alcohol is recommended to consume?
If you choose to drink alcohol it is recommended to limit it to a light or moderate amount. Heavy drinking can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease and other issues such as liver disease. Binge drinking can cause irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias, even without drinking throughout the week overdoing it in one day can still be harmful.
Effective January 2023 the Canadian Centre on Substance and Addiction (CCSA) recommends consuming no more than two alcoholic drinks per week, a dramatic reduction from the previous cap of 15 drinks for men and 10 drinks for women.
The report refutes the popular belief that drinking a small amount of alcohol can provide sleep and health benefits and warns that as few as three to six drinks per week can increase the risk of developing certain cancers. It warns consuming more than seven drinks per week increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, with the danger increasing with each additional drink.
So instead of reaching for your favourite alcoholic beverage, break the habit by moving more. Instead of managing stress with alcohol, do a workout and see how you feel.
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