Alcohol and Vascular Health

It’s no secret that alcohol isn’t good for your overall health, but it’s also important to keep in mind the impact of alcohol on your vascular health. Results of a new global study suggest a link between alcohol consumption and premature death, cancer and cardiovascular problems. The study’s author, Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, suggests the only way to eliminate this risk is to abstain from alcohol altogether[1].

Drinking in excess can increase the levels of certain fats in your blood and can also lead to heart failure, high blood pressure and increased calorie intake, which can in turn lead to obesity and even diabetes[2]. You may already know that many of these are also risk factors for vascular disease, which can be caused by plaque build-up, or atherosclerosis, in your arteries[3]. So, as a general rule, it’s important to moderate your drinking to a sustainable and healthy level.

For many, complete abstinence from alcohol may be difficult to achieve. With 1 in 3 people worldwide regularly drinking, alcohol consumption is embedded within many modern lifestyles and cultures[1]. However, taking small steps to gradually change your habits and reduce your alcohol intake could see great benefits for your vascular health[3].

Tips on cutting down[4]

  • Alcohol-free days: Designate a few days a week where you won’t drink any alcohol
  • Set a limit: For the days that you do drink, talk to your doctor about what intake of alcohol is appropriate for you personally
  • Don’t keep alcohol at home: If it’s not there, you can’t drink it – simple
  • Slow down and have breaks: Sip your drink and allow yourself to enjoy the taste, then consider following it up with water or a juice
  • Be proud: It’s easy to give in to peer pressure but it’s difficult to avoid temptation – taking the more difficult route, all in the name of your own vascular health, is something that deserves respect!

Learn about more ways to protect your vascular health here.

 


[1] Sci News. Study: There is No Safe Level of Drinking Alcohol. Available at: http://www.sci-news.com/medicine/no-safe-level-drinking-alcohol-06346.html Accessed September 2018.
[2] AHA. Alcohol and Heart Health. Available at: http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/alcohol-and-heart-health Accessed September 2018.
[3] NHS Choices. Atherosclerosis. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Atherosclerosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx Accessed April 2018.
[4] Harvard Medical School. 11 ways to curb your drinking. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/11-ways-to-curb-your-drinking Accessed September 2018.

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