These days, there is a lot of confusion and contradictory statements regarding the relationship between alcohol and the health of the human heart.
You’ve no doubt heard claims that drinking red wine in moderation on a regular basis can ward off heart disease, but have probably also heard about alcohol causing heart disease, so how do you know who to trust?
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple, with several genuine and accomplished academic studies arriving at conflicting conclusions.
In fact, chest pain after drinking alcohol (even the next day) is something we get asked about quite a lot, and it is always worrying.
Of course, most alcohol-related research is based on observational studies that only point to an association between certain drinking habits and heart disease, but as we all know, correlation doesn’t always equal causation.
With that in mind, the best way forward is to be well-read on what we do know and to use common sense and moderation to protect ourselves from the rest.
With that in mind, we are going to take you through the effects alcohol has on the heart, how it causes heart disease, what to do if you experience chest pains after drinking alcohol, and more.
Grab a (non-alcoholic) drink, get comfortable, and let’s take a look:
Effects of Alcohol on the Heart
Alcohol is classified as a ‘depressant’ which a category of drug that slows down the communication between the brain and the body.
This is why drinking affects our coordination and our speech even after a few drinks, but when larger amounts are consumed, the breathing and heart rate can be slowed down to dangerous levels.
This is in the short term, but there are also strong links between alcohol and high blood pressure.
Since hypertension or high blood pressure causes strain to the heart, long-term drinking can lead to serious cardiovascular diseases.
If you experience shortness of breath or a tight chest after drinking alcohol, you may already be at risk.
Most moderate drinkers will never drink anywhere near enough to experience this, and if they do, a little advice and guidance from a medical professional will usually lead to them stopping all consumption of alcohol.
But for those suffering from alcohol dependence, stopping simply isn’t that easy, which means without getting access to the correct treatment and rehabilitation, chest pain while drinking alcohol could, in fact, be the first sign on the road to an early death.
If this sounds like it might be the case for you, the most important thing you can do is get in touch with us ASAP on 0333 444 0315.
Our experts are ready to give you friendly, no-obligation advice on alcohol dependency, heart disease, alcohol and chest pain and anything else you might be worried about.
If you believe you might be dependent on alcohol, we offer a variety of services including alcohol home detox with 24/7 access to advice and detox medication, something that can be just as effective as attending a rehabilitation clinic but without the extreme financial cost or the need to be away from home for a period of time.
It’s important that you remember that alcohol addiction is a disease and not a choice – and there is absolutely no shame in needing help to get over it, the vast majority do.
Getting over alcohol addiction and regaining control of your life is always one of the most important things you’ll ever do, but if you’ve experienced chest pain while drinking alcohol, this is the case even more.
Can Alcohol Cause Heart Disease?
As mentioned previously, if drinking is done in moderation this is nothing to worry about – a drink here and there can even have a positive impact on your heart health.
Unfortunately, regular heavy drinking over a long period absolutely can lead to heart disease.
The UK Chief Medical Officers recommend never drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week.
It’s not just blood pressure and cardiovascular disease that can cause heart pains after drinking – excessive drinking can also lead to cardiomyopathy (where the heart muscle is damaged and works less efficiently) or arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), both of which can lead to strokes or worse if you continue drinking and don’t treat them.
If you already have a heart problem and drink regularly, we highly recommend you stop.
If you have a drinking habit and are worried you are unable to stop quickly enough alone, please contact us immediately as we are one of the few UK organisations that are able to offer high-quality alcohol withdrawal treatment at home, which can get you on the path back to good health.
Generally, if you have a family history of any of the below issues, you should talk to your GP before drinking at all:
- Arrhythmias or irregular heart rhythm
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
Can Alcohol Cause a Heart Attack?
Since high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, absolutely.
Excessive drinking can also lead to weight gain which can also cause high blood pressure, putting stress on your heart from two different directions.
Heart attacks can lead to sudden death so this isn’t something to play around with.
Chest pain after a night of drinking is your body screaming at you to make a change, and it may be the last chance it gives you to do so.
Why Does My Chest Hurt When I Drink Alcohol?
If you’ve ever quietly noticed to yourself “when I drink alcohol my chest hurts”, you need to stop drinking immediately and see a doctor.
The connection between alcohol and heart failure is strong, inevitable in the long run, and ignoring the pain and continuing to drink could just be tempting fate.
Even if you manage to avoid heart failure, there are plenty of other serious conditions caused by long term drinking that can be just as bad, including wet brain.
Hopefully, this article has given you a strong enough answer to the question “can alcohol cause chest pain”, because not only is the answer yes, but it can cause a lot worse than that.
If you struggle with a drinking habit, hide your drinking from others, experience chest pains when drinking alcohol, or for any other reason believe you may need medical attention as a result of your drinking, contact us now to get yourself back on the path to recovery, health and having control of your life!