Researchers from Dublin have discovered that alcohol may be more detrimental to heart health than previously thought. The study, presented at the Heart Failure 2022 scientific congress, revealed that drinking even low levels of alcohol can prove damaging to the heart.
Here, we will look at the latest findings, and why a functional cardiology approach could be key to maintaining a healthy heart.
What did the latest study reveal?
The new study included 744 adults aged over 40, with either pre-heart failure, or an increased risk of developing heart failure. Just over half of the participants were women, and those with symptomatic heart failure and former drinkers were excluded from the research.
Echocardiography was used to measure heart function both at baseline and during the follow up. Units of alcohol were measured using Irish recommendations of an average drink, equating to 10g of alcohol in one unit. The participants were categorised based upon their weekly intake of alcohol.
Heart health was monitored over a period of 5.4 years during the study. It revealed that moderate-high drinkers in the pre-heart failure group were 4.5 times more likely to experience worsening heart health. Interestingly, participants in the at-risk group didn’t show any signs of worsening heart health with moderate to high levels of alcohol consumption. There were no benefits discovered for low consumptions of alcohol.
Overall, the study suggested that drinking more than 70g of alcohol a week increases the risk of pre-heart failure. It can also lead to symptomatic heart failure progression.
Alcohol and its adverse heart health effects
There have been many studies carried out that have highlighted the risks of alcohol on heart health. It is known to:
- Temporarily increase blood pressure and heart rate
- Weaken the heart muscle
- Cause an irregular heartbeat
Increased blood pressure is a particular concern. Regular heavy drinkers can develop hypertension directly caused by alcohol. Similarly, heavy alcohol consumption can also lead to cardiomyopathy due to weakening of the heart muscle.
Each of these negative effects on the heart can greatly increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Even social drinkers and those who only drink low levels of alcohol could see a change in their heartbeat and blood pressure.
So, how do you know if you’re drinking too much and how can you protect the heart from alcohol related damage?
Keeping the heart healthy with functional cardiology
One of the most effective ways to protect your heart and ensure you aren’t drinking too much, is to seek functional cardiology treatment.
Mr Konrad Grosser provides a functional cardiology approach, assessing each individual patient before providing a tailored treatment plan. He will be able to assess your current heart health and provide recommendations based upon how much alcohol you currently consume.