Binge drinking and your Heart health
“Some people think it’s natural to have a bottle of wine a night. For far too many it seems respectable because you’re drinking with food and it’s not associated with any drunken behaviour or even feeling drunk.
“But if it happens regularly, you may have problems later on”
“You may not be an alcoholic, but if the overall amount of alcohol you drink regularly exceeds recommended limits, it may still cause serious harm.”
For most people, a glass of wine or a pint of normal-strength beer a day does no harm (and may even do some good) but drinking above that level increases blood pressure, which can lead to heart failure.
Alcohol is measured in units a pint of typical strength beer (about 4% alcohol) contains two to three units, and a glass of wine can contain anything from 1.5 to more than three units, depending on the strength of the wine and size of the glass. Men who regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol a day, and women who regularly drink more than two to three units a day are likely to be damaging their heart health. Heavy drinking over a number of years can damage heart muscle, and lead directly to heart failure, as well as having many other harmful effects on your health. It also causes weight gain because of the calories in alcohol.
Binge drinking is particularly likely to increase blood pressure and increase the risk of heart failure. The alcohol intake that amounts to binge drinking may well be lower than you think, and reflects the levels of heavy drinking in a single night that start to seriously affect health. For a man, binge drinking is more than eight units in a night (about three pints of beer with 5% alcohol), while for a woman, it is about six units in a night (three standard or two large glasses of wine).
For a woman, simply having a large glass (250ml) of 12% wine (3 units) every day, or a man drinking two pints of 4% lager (4.6 units), can push you above the recommended limits.
Men who regularly drink more than 2 pints of strong (5.2%) lager, which is more than 6 units, every day are more than three times more likely to get mouth cancer and could be three times more likely to have a stroke.
Women who regularly drink two large glasses of 13% wine (6.5 units) or more a day are twice as likely to have high blood pressure and are 50% more likely to get breast cancer.
If you have Heart Failure binge drinking will have a more profound effect – not only a big challenge in managing your fluid levels.
OK so how do I know if I am doing myself damage? for self-assessment see below