9 Alcohol - a risk of heart disease

Alcohol - A risk of heart disease

Moderate but regular alcohol consumption is usual in our society. A glass of red wine or a cool beer in the evening to relax, a glass of sparkling wine during the day at a birthday party at work, - no one thinks twice about it. 

But this opinion is no longer correct: cardiologists sound the alarm. They claim that one third of those who consume alcohol on a daily basis contract life-threatening cardiac muscle damage.

The notorious daily consumption of a quarter of a bottle of wine is regularly accepted. But this value is not proven.

Surveys show that alcohol consumption causes 23 to 43 percent of cardiac muscle destruction.

In addition, it can happen when men drink habitually for over 5 years and take 6 to 7 so-called standard drinks a day.

For men this amount is calculated as 6 to 7 bottles of beer or 6 to 7 glasses of wine or 6 to 7 glasses of spirit.
Nature is less merciful with women in this respect. Their liver degrades alcohol much slower due to hormonal reasons. This is why alcohol circulates longer in the body of women than men and can so cause more damage. The rule of the thumb is that for women, the recommended intake of alcohol is a third of that suggested for men. So 4 standard drinks can have the effect of heart damage.

According to studies This means that if women drink 2 glasses of sparkling wine at a lunch time birthday party at work, a beer for dinner and a glass of wine in front of the tv, they exceed the limit.

What happens in the case of cardiac muscle damage? The consequences “produce changes and the degeneration of myocardial cells. This leads to mechanical and/or electrical malfunctions of the heart. An inappropriate enlargement of the heart chambers will be the next step. This can cause dangerous or fatal heart diseases such as cardiac insufficiency, rhythm disturbances or embolisms in the heart or lungs.

If you continue to drink,  the survival prognosis is very poor. But the good news is: such an alcoholic heart muscle disorder is reversible. Studies show that myocyte recover after six weeks of abstinence. But total abstinence from alcohol is very important for this purpose, i.e. without a single drop of alcohol.

But before it comes to that, one should ask oneself why not cultivate a heart-friendly life earlier? We have only one heart - a miracle of nature.

Alcohol abuse often creeps up on one. Alcohol is part of our culture. It is customary to drink a glass of sparkling wine to celebrate an important decision or to make a special dinner with a good wine even more romantic. Be careful if you drink alcohol in order to cope with everyday tensions and conflicts. Anyone who pours a measure automatically when he comes home from the office, or imbibes a red wine every time the children are in bed, takes the first step towards alcohol abuse. The next step?  You find you need alcohol to feel fine. But then you reach the threshold of dependence.

If you notice such signs, you should drink with conscience. Admit when it has become too much of a habit with alcohol. Then you should start a six-week non-alcoholic break. Lent is a good time for this. If you do not want to give up alcohol altogether now, you should go for controlled drinking. But the permitted quantity is not large: men should not drink over one glass of wine (250 ml) or half a litre of beer per day: for women a small glass of wine or a small glass of beer. Plan two non-alcoholic days per week.

Consider the following tips against excessive alcohol consumption:

Store your supplies in the cellar and not in the kitchen.
Don't leave an open wine bottle standing around, but pour the rest away from a convivial dinner. Otherwise, you might empty the bottle the next night.
In many supermarkets you will find small wine bottles with 0.25 litre capacity. For people living alone, an alternative to the normal bottle size.
Try to make sure of a sufficient supply of non-alcoholic beverages. If you own a whole box of different delicious fruit juices and non-alcoholic beer, you avoid alcohol.

These tips help those who do not depend on alcohol. Persons addicted to alcohol must keep their hands away from alcohol, with the help of like-minded people such as Alcoholics Anonymous or trained therapists.

Copyright: Landeszentrale fuer Gesundheitsfoerderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. (LZG) Germany