Heart Disease and Alcoholism
What Does Heart Disease Look Like?
Heart disease often sneaks up on people, since there are no symptoms that can be felt on a day-to-day basis. Although it often leads to a heart attack or heart failure, heart disease begins with unhealthy arteries, weakened and damaged by high blood pressure and plaque. Numerous factors contribute to the formation of arterial plaque and to the development of high blood pressure, including the consumption of LDL cholesterol. Eating a healthy diet is an important step toward combatting heart disease.
Alcohol Consumption Affects Triglyceride Levels
Alcohol is cholesterol free. Does that mean you’re off the hook and can’t blame your drinking habit for your heart disease? Not so fast.
Triglyceride levels represent the amount of fat in your bloodstream. Elevated triglyceride levels are linked to high cholesterol, but alcohol causes a spike in triglycerides despite being a cholesterol-free substance.
Fat cruising through your bloodstream is a recipe for disaster. All it takes is one microscopic lump of fat to get stuck along a plaque-filled artery for a heart attack, or other complications, to occur. The lower your triglyceride levels, the less fat is in your bloodstream.
Every time you drink alcohol, especially if you already have poor cholesterol levels and haven’t been taking care of your heart, you immediately increase your risk for any number of heart disease-related afflictions. The scariest of these are, of course, heart attack or heart failure.
Triglycerides are formed when the body converts calories to fat in order to store the calories for later use, rather than breaking them down immediately. The fact that alcohol causes an increase in triglyceride levels points to another unpleasant side effect of alcohol consumption: weight gain. Carrying excess weight means your heart has to work harder to supply blood throughout your body. Plus, being overweight makes exercise a real drag. The heart is a muscle; it needs exercise in order to stay strong.
All in all, alcoholism is a contributing factor to heart disease. It’s possible to have a healthy heart, but it requires changing the way you care for yourself. It’s actually possible to reverse damage that has been done to your heart and arteries; your body can heal itself if given the chance. The first step is to give up the alcohol for good. If you need help taking that crucial step and turning your life around, call us about starting your recovery. It’s what we’re here for.