Excess alcohol consumption in winter can be harmful to heart; Experts

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Alcohol Consumption
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Excessive physical activity and alcohol consumption to keep warm during the winter might weaken the heart. The heart is unable to pump blood properly due to the direct toxic effects of alcohol on the heart muscle, resulting in heart failure.

Experts recommend that people take care of their hearts by eating a well-balanced diet, being stress-free, avoiding smoking and drinking, and monitoring their blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels on a regular basis.

According to health experts, “Alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is caused by long-term consumption of alcohol.” The untreated ACM can become severe and has life-threatening consequences, resulting in irregular heartbeats and congestive heart failure.

Dr. Bipeenchandra Bhamre, a Consultant Cardiac Surgeon at Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre, and Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre said, “Alcohol abuse has a toxic effect on many of your organs, including the heart. Excess alcohol consumption damages and weakens the heart muscle over time. Due to this, it becomes difficult for your heart to pump blood efficiently. When it can’t pump out enough blood, the heart starts to expand to hold the extra blood. This is a reason for the heart to become thin and enlarged. Eventually, this leads the heart muscle and blood vessels stop functioning properly due to the damage and strain.”

“We see several patients who consume too much alcohol during winter, putting themselves at risk. Heavy alcohol intake increases hypertension risk. People with high diabetes damages the blood vessels leads to the build-up of fat in the arteries causing atherosclerosis. Diabetes raises the chances of high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” Dr. Bhamre noted.

High blood pressure causes heart muscle thickening, which can lead to a heart attack. Smoking also causes your blood vessels to thicken and constrict leading to a heart attack. “Stress can trigger heart problems like poor blood flow to the heart muscle which can invite a stroke in later life,” Dr. Bhamre further added.

Dr. Amit Patil, Cardiologist, Apollo Spectra Mumbai commented, “Exercising during winter is good and healthy, those who have heart disease should avoid strenuous workouts, cutting down on smoking, alcohol, and processed foods, going for regular cardiac check-ups with your doctor is essential to keep heart attacks at bay.”

“Try to de-stress via yoga or meditation. Avoid excessive sugar consumption, monitor lipids, control fat consumption, maintain an optimum weight, and eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can be beneficial for the heart,” concluded Dr. Amit.

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