A Drink a Day: How Alcohol Consumption is Linked to Your Vascular Health

A drink in the evenings might be the perfect way to relax after a long day at work, but when you start getting heavy-handed on the pour, those cocktails start to add up, leading to some potentially negative side effects in the future.

It’s not a big secret that excessive alcohol use can take a toll on your mental health, but the physical impacts may not be far behind, especially as it concerns your vascular health.

What do we mean? Read on:

When Vascular Becomes Vital

Picture this — You’re on the way to work, and suddenly you hit dead-stop traffic with no end in sight. You hadn’t factored in such a long commute, and now you’re going to be late to work with no other option than to wait for the roads to clear.

Well, in the same way a traffic jam creates a list of complications, when your veins and arteries can’t carry blood to your organs and extremities, it can have a detrimental effect on your health, leaving you with painful symptoms as a result of vascular disease.

What kind of traffic creates congestion in your body?

Plaque — a buildup of cholesterol, fatty deposits, and other cellular waste — can easily create the same kind of backup as a roadblock in your body. Only, in this case, your extremities, heart, and/or brain may not receive proper blood flow.

This blockage could result in a heart attack or stroke if gone untreated.

Additionally, there is the risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), leading to symptoms such as leg discoloration, painful cramping, and/or weakened pulse.

How Alcohol Plays a Part

While vascular disease can affect anyone, there are certain risk factors that you should take into account in terms of your personal health and history.

For example, with regard to peripheral arterial disease (PAD), some of these factors may include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of PAD
  • And more

Alcohol, known for raising cholesterol and blood pressure levels, can contribute to the development of PAD and other vascular complications when used in excess.

The good news is that, while heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to stroke and PAD,  studies have also shown that moderate drinking may actually lower the risk of hospitalization due to lower-extremity-related diseases.

Therefore, an evening drink is nothing to worry about as long as you’re staying under the binge drinking level — four or more drinks for women and five or more for men.

In short, moderation is key when it comes to alcohol and your vascular health.

Who to Talk to About Your Vascular Health

Understanding your vascular health and how it plays a part in your overall wellness could become crucial to preventing life-hindering symptoms. Moreover, it could mitigate your risk for such vascular diseases as PAD.

That’s why, here at Vascular Solutions of North Carolina, our patients are our priority. We ensure they understand all of their options before choosing the right treatment for them, as well as provide a comprehensively customized plan to better promote a successful recovery process.

Specializing in PAD, our physicians are experts in performing limb preservation procedures and non-invasive vascular imaging techniques. To get all of your questions answered or schedule an appointment, contact our office at 919-897-5999 today!

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