Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. And while it’s true that genetics certainly come into play when determining your risk, there are also a number of environmental factors within your control—including your alcohol consumption.

And that fact is that, in addition to all the other ways alcohol can harm you, it can also be damaging to your heart.

But wait, you may be thinking, I thought red wine is good for my heart?

While there have been studies in the past that seemed to indicate that was true, the American Heart Association cautions that “no direct comparison trials” have conclusively proven the link.

Rather, it’s thought that people who moderately drink red wine are also likely to eat better and exercise more—two important factors that may keep them healthier than many of their non-drinking peers.

And, even more importantly, it should be noted that alcohol abuse has been proven to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Alcohol, Cardiovascular Disease, and Heart Failure

Here’s what the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has to say about the link between alcohol abuse and cardiovascular disease:

“Drinking a lot over a long time or too much on a single occasion can damage the heart.”

The list of potential problems includes high blood pressure, stroke, an irregular heartbeat and cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of the heart muscle).

In addition to the above risks, the American Heart Association is very clear on another significant risk—heart failure.

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