Alcohol, especially in excess, can lead to a variety of physical symptoms, including dizziness, drowsiness and trouble with coordination, but can alcohol cause heart palpitations? Palpitations of the heart involve a rapid, strong heartbeat that can also be irregular. Heart palpitations after drinking alcohol may be felt strongly internally and externally in the chest, but they may also present clinically in the neck of limbs. Sometimes confused for a heart attack, palpitations are usually harmless, but when they occur regularly, especially when drinking, they may be a sign of something more troubling.
Are Heart Palpitations After Drinking Serious?
The irregular heartbeat alcohol causes may be part of a more serious health condition called atrial fibrillation. This condition is due to misfiring electrical signals from the brain to the heart, leading to the rapid or irregular heartbeat. While it’s a common condition that has many causes, including alcohol, people who are suffering from atrial fibrillation are encouraged to speak with a physician to determine the cause and to see if any damage is present. It’s important to be completely honest about your alcohol consumption when speaking with your doctor to ensure that he or she has a complete picture of your health.
Symptoms That May Occur Alongside Heart Palpitations
People who experience heart palpitations when drinking alcohol may also experience shortness of breath, increased dizziness and a sensation of heat, especially in the face and neck. Nausea and vomiting can also occur. Unfortunately, because alcohol also produces some of these symptoms in excess, it can be difficult to tell just how much alcohol is to blame while drinking. To add to this, alcohol can dull the senses and lead to poor decision making, often causing people to ignore things like heart palpitations until they present as something more serious.
Alcohol and Heart Palpitations Might Indicate Addiction
Another consideration when troubled by heart palpitations after drinking is whether or not an addiction pattern is developing. Drinking in moderate amount typically produces no physical effects, but drinking heavily, especially over time, can lead to a number of negative health effects as the body begins to degrade. The thing to keep in mind is that everyone is different and will process alcohol differently. Genetics can play a large role in whether or not alcohol produces negative effects, but lifestyle choices and diet can also play a large part in the equation.
The bottom line, however, is that if you are beginning to experience negative physical, mental or emotional reactions to alcohol, or if you’ve noticed negative effects as your consumption has gone up, you may be addicted to alcohol. Someone who is addicted to alcohol continues to drink despite the negative health consequences. This is why some addicts drink to the point of developing irreversible liver conditions or heart failure. They have come to a point where they need alcohol in order to function, and even when the body is sending warning signals to stop, they continue to drink because they will go into withdrawal.
Hope is Available for Those Struggling With Alcohol Addiction
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