Is Your Heart Racing After Drinking? Here’s What To Do

Is Your Heart Racing After Drinking? Here’s What To Do

Have you ever noticed your heart racing after drinking? If you have, you might have wondered whether it’s normal or if it’s a cause for concern. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the reasons behind an elevated heart rate after alcohol consumption and provide practical tips on how to slow it down.

Understanding the Relationship Between Alcohol and Heart Rate

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can slow down the brain's ability to control the body. While this may lead to a feeling of relaxation, alcohol can also have other effects on the body, including an increase in heart rate.

It's important to note that a slight increase in heart rate after drinking alcohol is normal and usually not a cause for concern. However, if your heart rate becomes significantly elevated or irregular, it may indicate a more serious issue and you might need help on how to stop heart racing after drinking alcohol.

Can Heavy Drinking Cause Heart Disease?

Excessive alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on your heart health and potentially lead to heart disease. Heavy drinking is associated with various cardiovascular conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension): Excessive alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure, forcing your heart to work harder to circulate blood throughout your body.
  • Stroke: Alcohol abuse can lead to an increased risk of ischemic stroke, which occurs when part of the brain does not receive sufficient oxygen.
  • Cardiomyopathy: This condition occurs when the heart muscle becomes damaged and weakened, affecting its ability to pump blood effectively.
  • Arrhythmias: Alcohol abuse can cause abnormal heart rhythms, with atrial fibrillation being one of the most common types.
  • Heart failure: Chronic heavy drinking can lead to heart failure, a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

It's important to understand that certain risk factors, such as being overweight or having an unhealthy diet, can increase your susceptibility to these heart conditions. Regular check-ups with your doctor are essential, particularly if you consume alcohol frequently and in large quantities.

The Mechanism Behind Increased Heart Rate After Drinking

The exact mechanism behind an increased heart rate after drinking alcohol is not fully understood. However, research suggests that alcohol can affect the cardiovascular system in several ways.

One study found that small amounts of alcohol can dilate blood vessels, reducing the workload on the heart. However, as the amount of alcohol consumed increases, the heart has to work harder to pump blood and overcome the effects of alcohol. This increased workload can lead to an elevated heart rate.

Factors That Influence Heart Rate Response to Alcohol

The response of your heart rate to alcohol can vary depending on several factors. Women, for example, may be more sensitive to the cardiac effects of alcohol than men. This may be due to differences in absorption rates and metabolism. Additionally, the amount of alcohol consumed plays a significant role in heart rate response. Heavy drinking puts more stress on the heart and increases the risk of cardiovascular conditions such as stroke, hypertension, and heart disease.

How to Stop Heart Racing After Drinking Alcohol

If you experience a rapid or irregular heartbeat after drinking alcohol, there are several strategies you can try to slow it down.

Firstly, it's important to stop drinking to prevent further stress on the body. Drinking water and electrolytes can help rehydrate your body, as alcohol tends to dehydrate it. Sitting down and relaxing can also help slow your heart rate, as physical activity can cause it to beat faster.

Deep breathing exercises are another effective technique, as they flood your body with oxygen and make each heartbeat more efficient. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests trying vagal maneuvers, such as coughing or bearing down as if having a bowel movement, to regulate your heart rate. Applying an ice pack to your face can also help lower your heart rate by cooling your body.

Warning Signs of Serious Heart Problems

While an elevated heart rate after drinking alcohol is relatively common, it's crucial to be aware of warning signs that may indicate more serious heart problems. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it's important to seek medical attention:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Pain or discomfort in your jaw, neck, shoulder, back, or arm
  • Numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg
  • Confusion

If you ever feel "off" after consuming alcohol or during periods of sobriety between binge-drinking episodes, it's crucial to seek help immediately. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other medical emergencies. Play it safe and call your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.

Seeking Help for Alcohol-Related Heart Issues

If you're concerned about the impact of alcohol on your heart health or are struggling to control your alcohol consumption, it's important to seek help. There are various resources available, including addiction treatment programs, counseling services, and support groups. These resources can provide the guidance and support you need to address your alcohol-related heart issues and make positive changes in your life.

Prevention Strategies for a Healthy Heart

Prevention is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart while enjoying alcohol. It's important to drink in moderation and be mindful of your alcohol intake. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

It's also advised to avoid drinking on multiple consecutive days to give your body a break. Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management can help support heart health and minimize the negative effects of alcohol.

Taking Care of Your Heart While Enjoying Alcohol

If you choose to drink alcohol, there are steps you can take to stop heart racing after drinking alcohol. Drinking water alongside alcohol can help prevent dehydration and support overall cardiovascular health. It's also important to be aware of the alcohol content in different beverages and choose lower-alcohol options when possible.

Taking breaks between drinks and pacing yourself can help prevent excessive alcohol consumption and help how to stop heart racing after drinking alcohol. Monitoring your heart rate and seeking medical advice if you notice persistent abnormalities can also contribute to maintaining a healthy heart.

Worried About How to Stop Heart Racing After Drinking Alcohol? Get Help Today

If you're concerned about the impact of alcohol on your heart health or find that your drinking is becoming problematic, seeking help is crucial. Overcoming alcohol addiction can be challenging, but you don't have to do it alone. There are resources available to support you on your journey to recovery.


It's not uncommon for alcohol to cause an increase in heart rate, but it's important to distinguish between a normal response and a potentially serious issue. Understanding the relationship between alcohol and heart rate, as well as the factors that influence heart rate response, can help you make informed decisions about your alcohol consumption.

By following the tips and strategies outlined in this guide on how to stop heart racing after drinking alcohol, you can take control of your heart rate after drinking alcohol and prioritize your heart health. Remember, seeking professional help is always an option if you're concerned about the impact of alcohol on your heart.



The New York Times - Can Drinking Alcohol Raise Your Heart Rate?

Johns Hopkins Medicine - Alcohol and Heart Health: Separating Fact from Fiction

Mayo Clinic - Heart disease - Symptoms and causes

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