Alcohol Effects on the Circulatory System

Alcohol can have many dangerous side effects beyond simply poisoning the liver. Some of these side effects are very short term, usually only affecting the individual while they are under the influence of alcohol. Some are long term, affecting the individual even when not under the influence of alcohol.

Circulatory System

Some of the effects of alcohol are only apparent while the individual has been drinking. Because alcohol is a depressant, even one drink can cause any one of the problems below, but the effect may be so minute as to not be considered an issue.

While under the influence of alcohol, your circulatory system experiences:

  1. Decrease blood pressure
  2. Slower pulse
  3. More difficult respiration

All of these tend to be very short term. Once the alcohol has left the body, all of these tend to return to their normal state. Within less than 24 hours (depending on the extent of the drinking) your circulatory system should be completely back to normal.

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Long Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

There are, however, there are some long term alcohol effects on the circulatory system that occur when an individual has had long term exposure to alcohol, usually due to alcohol abuse. These symptoms include:

  1. Chronic high blood pressure
  2. Heart muscle deterioration (known as “cardiomyopathy”) and other heart disease
  3. Less hemoglobin cells, which over time can cause anemia

These long term effects of alcohol abuse are generally irreversible. Over time, they can be become very serious health issues that may require hospitalization or surgery. Because of these long term effects of chronic alcohol abuse, this type of drinking is especially not recommended for those with a history of heart problems, those with high cholesterol or another dietary issue with high blood pressure, or those that smoke.

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