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Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Your Circulatory System

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Alcohol abuse over time can really wear down your body. One of the systems that takes a beating is the circulatory system, home to your heart, blood vessels, and blood. Without the circulatory system, our bodies would be unable to pump live-giving blood around the body, which in turn delivers nutrients and oxygen to the body parts that need it. Let’s look at the effects of alcohol abuse on your circulatory system.

Alcohol Abuse and Your Circulatory System

Put simply, alcohol is hard on the heart. It can trigger chronic heart conditions and ongoing problems with blood pressure, which can lead to hormonal problems or strokes. It can even put you at risk for a heart attack. When your heart and the rest of the circulatory system aren’t working properly, your whole body is affected.


Cardiomyopathy is characterized by an inflamed, enlarged heart muscle. When the heart is inflamed, it becomes weak and can’t pump blood at an optimal level. This can lead to heart failure and require a heart transplant. Alcohol abuse can damage your heart, in some cases irreversibly.

High blood pressure

Having more than three drinks at one time can increase your blood pressure on a temporary basis, but chronic alcohol abuse can raise it for the long term. This is often referred to as hypertension. Additionally, alcohol’s calorie content can result in weight gain, another risk factor for high blood pressure.

Irregular heartbeat

An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat and can be caused by the presence of heart disease. Alcohol abuse can be a trigger for arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that tends to be associated with heavy alcohol abuse, and it often goes away when drinking stops.

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Blood clotting

Alcohol acts as a blood thinner, which means that your blood does not clot as effectively. If you suffer an injury while intoxicated, you run the risk of increased bleeding. Since alcohol abuse is also associated with a decreased immune system, your body may struggle to heal itself after such injuries.


Low levels of hemoglobin (red blood cells) signify anemia, a condition that leaves you feeling exhausted. Alcoholics often have a hard time producing normal levels of red blood cells, which could lead to alcohol-induced anemia.

Some of the effects of alcohol abuse on the circulatory system are reversible, while others are not. Many can be prevented entirely if the alcohol abuse is stopped before the symptoms set in. Treatment can help turn things around, get you in recovery, and slow the potential decline of your circulatory system.

If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today.  Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.  A substance abuse treatment program is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.

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