The media often glamorizes the use of alcohol. Its effects on the body are not always obvious or immediate. Though some evidence shows that low to moderate alcohol use can reduce the risk of heart disease, many people exceed the amount that is deemed low risk or do not consider important factors such as their genetics or health history. High-risk alcohol use increases your risk for heart disease.

High-risk alcohol use is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as more than four drinks per day or 14 in a week for men, and more than three drinks a day or seven per week for women.

This style of drinking can…

  • Elevate blood pressure
  • Raise the levels of some fats in the blood, which adds to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which cause arteries to harden and thicken
  • Cause changes in your heart rhythm

All of this impacts the circulation of blood and can create blood clots, lead to heart attack or stroke, and even heart failure.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. Excessive alcohol use is responsible for one in 10 deaths among adults aged 20-64 years.

The good news is that research shows that reducing the rate of alcohol misuse can make a meaningful reduction in the rate of heart disease.

Long-term wellness and heart health can be achieved by following low-risk guidelines, if you choose to drink alcohol. For more information on low-risk use, contact your installation’s Substance Abuse Counseling Center.