It was previously believed that a daily glass of red wine benefits the heart, but the cardiovascular risks of alcohol consumption far outweigh any benefit.

Article at a Glance:

  • Alcohol is said to be “good” for the heart in moderate consumption, but this thinking has changed.
  • The risks of alcohol consumption to the heart far outweigh any potential benefit.
  • Heavy drinking can increase the risk of different types of heart disease, including vascular disease, abnormal heart rhythm and clotting disorders.

Does Alcohol Protect Against Heart Problems?

Certain components in red wine have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) does not recommend wine for heart protection.

Firstly, research has not established a cause-effect relationship between red wine and improved heart health. Second, the protective compounds found in red wine are also present in grape juice and blueberries. Therefore, the AHA does not recommend red wine for heart protection. Regular exercise is a more effective way to raise good cholesterol.

Continue reading at How Much Alcohol Is Too Much? 

How Alcohol Affects the Heart

Drinking in excess, particularly chronically, can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular problems.

Related Topic: Does Alcohol Affect The Cardiovascular System?

  • Irregular heartbeat: Excessive drinking can lead to irregular heart rhythms, which can contribute to issues such as decreased exercise tolerance, heart failure and clotting disorders.
  • Increased heart attack risk: Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of a heart attack. In addition, heavy drinking can also increase your blood pressure, which also increases the risk of a heart attack.
  • Increased risk of cardiomyopathy: Heavy drinking can weaken your heart muscle, which can damage the heart’s efficiency to pump blood. This is known as cardiomyopathy, and without proper alcoholic cardiomyopathy treatment, it can lead to heart failure and ultimately premature death.

Related Topic: Can Alcohol Withdrawal Cause Chest Tightness?

Frequent questions:

How to slow heart rate after drinking alcohol?

There is no safe way to lower your heart rate after drinking alcohol. Heavy consumption should be avoided.

Why does my heart beat fast when I drink alcohol?

Alcohol can change the conduction of electrical impulses through the heart, changing your heartbeat.

How soon after a heart attack can you drink alcohol?

Generally, all alcohol should be avoided after a heart attack. Speak to your doctor first if you are considering drinking.

How to prevent heart palpitations when drinking alcohol?

There is no safe way to prevent palpitations. Avoid drinking heavily to avoid this symptom.

What To Know About a Healthy Heart

Heart disease and cardiovascular complications are among the leading causes of death in the U.S., but many of these deaths are preventable.

The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body, and that blood carries everything from oxygen to hormones that the body needs to function optimally.

Even though so many people suffer from heart-related conditions, particularly as they age, cardiovascular complications aren’t considered a normal part of the aging process. Heart health can be managed, particularly when you start from an early age.

The American Heart Association makes recommendations on how to combat cardiovascular disease. Some of their guidelines include eating a healthy diet, being physically active on a regular basis and avoiding harmful habits like smoking.

Aside from diet and exercise, people are advised to make sure they get plenty of sleep and even take good care of their teeth. In other words, good overall health can help prevent heart-related problems.

There are different types of cardiovascular conditions. One is coronary heart disease, which can contribute to death by a sudden heart attack. When someone suffers from coronary heart disease, fatty deposits build up on artery walls, and it may lead to the development of blood clots. This then narrows the artery, and the heart could have difficulty working the way it needs to in order to deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. A heart attack is usually a symptom or a result of coronary heart disease.

Summing Up — Alcohol and the Heart

The AHA advises against the consumption of alcohol for the prevention of heart disease. They recommend a heart-healthy diet, exercise and routine screening for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

With alcohol and the heart, excessive drinking can significantly increase your risk of developing very serious cardiovascular conditions, including high blood pressure and cardiomyopathy. The importance of heart health is just one more reason to make sure you don’t drink excessively, and if you do, to seek help.

Erica Weiman
Editor – Erica Weiman
Erica Weiman graduated from Pace University in 2014 with a master's in Publishing and has been writing and editing ever since. Read more
Conor Sheehy
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more

American College of Cardiology (ACC). “Even Moderate, Habitual Alcohol Consu[…]egular Heartbeat.” December 2016. Accessed November 8, 2021.

American Heart Association (AHA). “Is Drinking Alcohol Part of a Healthy Lifestyle?” December 30, 2019. Accessed November 8, 2021.

American Heart Association (AHA). “8 Things You Can Do to Prevent Heart […]sease and Stroke.” March 14, 2019. Accessed November 8, 2021.

American Heart Association (AHA). “Coronary Artery Disease – Coronary Heart Disease.” July 31, 2015. Accessed November 8, 2021.

American Heart Association (AHA). “Good dental health may help prevent h[…]m mouth bacteria.” April 15, 2021. Accessed November 8, 2021.

CardioSmart. “Heavy Drinking Heightens Immediate Ri[…]ttack and Stroke.” March 2016. Accessed November 8, 2021.

Husain, Kazim, et al. “Alcohol-induced hypertension: Mechani[…]m and prevention.” World Journal of Cardiology, May 2014. Accessed November 8, 2021.

Maisch, B. “Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy.” Herz, August 2016. Accessed Nov 8, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.