Is it Cocaine? Meth? Bath Salts? Heroin?
Drugs wreck havoc on our bodies. One line of cocaine can cause a stroke. Meth has been linked to Parkinson’s Disease. Bath salts…well, bath salts are linked to a variety of mental and physical health concerns. Heroin overdose and the spreading of blood borne disease are increasingly common.
So, which of these increases the risk of heart attack by a whopping 72%? It must be cocaine, right? After all, the infamous white powder has caused many a heart attack among users.
It isn’t cocaine and it isn’t meth, heroin, crack, bath salts, or synthetic marijuana. It isn’t any of these dangerous substances. It’s alcohol. That’s right, plain, old-fashioned booze is responsible for a drastic increase in an individual’s risk for heart attack.
And why not? After all, despite its seemingly innocuous nature, alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs around. It’s responsible for more deaths than any illegal substance. It raises blood pressure and can lead to diabetes. Long-term alcoholism can cause the failure of almost every major organ. It’s also a potent neurotoxin.
So, it comes as no real surprise that alcohol also increases the risk of heart attack by over 70%. Read on to learn what else researchers recently discovered!
Alcohol + Heart Health = A Dangerous Combo
An international team of researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a large-scale case analysis of both drinkers and those who suffered from myocardial infarction (the medical term for a heart attack). They interviewed over 3,800 people from over sixty hospitals and medical centers during a seven-year period. It’s safe to say this survey was extensive.
Their findings? Well, researchers found the chance of experiencing a heart attack increased by 72% in the hour following binge drinking. Within three hours of binging, this risk began to decrease and, after a day of abstinence, the chance of experiencing a heart attack dropped to normal levels.
Researchers also determined that hard liquor is more dangerous than beer or wine. Although they can’t say exactly why this is, it’s speculated that because beer and wine contain polyphenols, chemicals that protect the heart, they’re less likely to cause large-scale damage.
Another theory is that because it takes smaller quantities of liquor to produce euphoria, individuals will end up drinking more. This is the very definition of binge drinking – consuming large amounts of alcohol in a single sitting. Remember, that 72% increase in heart attacks is only linked to binge drinking. So, it’s thought that hard liquor is more dangerous that beer or wine because people will drink more in a short period.
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The Good News
Any conversation involving binge drinking and heart attacks isn’t going to offer much in the way of good news. There is some though! The good news here is that, as mentioned above, the heart attack risk only increases during periods of binge drinking.
So, want to avoid a heart attack? Don’t drink in large quantities! Of course, it’s much safer not to drink at all (this is a recovery site after all!). Still, there’s a much lower risk of heart attack if you drink in moderation.
It’s also important to note that researchers found evidence to support the idea that drinking in moderation can actually protect the heart. This idea isn’t anything new. It’s been thrown around for several years now. Think about news reports like “a glass of wine with dinner can reduce the risk of heart disease.”
Researchers stated, “Habitual moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart attacks, whereas binge drinking is associated with higher cardiovascular risk.”
The take away from all this new research on liquor, binge drinking, and heart attacks? Don’t binge drink. Period.