Binge Drinking in College Increases Risk of Heart Disease

Many, if not most college, students engage in binge drinking with friends at some point during their college careers.  The American College of Cardiology defines a binge drinking episode as having five drinks in two hours for men or four drinks in two hours for women.  What may seem relatively harmless at the time (minus the gnarly hangovers and embarrassing pictures) could have long-term health consequences, as it turns out.

Heavy drinking between the ages of 18 and 25 can permanently increase a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis (hardening of the heart’s arterial walls), according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  The study involved 38 non-smoking adults that were divided into two groups:  those who abstained from alcohol and those who were binge drinkers (five or more servings of alcohol in two hours, at least six times a month for four years).  The study found that those who abstained from drinking had elastic blood vessels that dilated with relative ease compared to the blood vessels of the binge drinkers.

This is an important finding, because blood vessel function and damage are indicators of potential cardiovascular issues in the future.  Shockingly, the American College of Cardiology reports that binge drinking (five drinks in two hours for men or four drinks in two hours for women) can do as much damage to cardiovascular health as having six or more drinks every day for a lifetime.

It seems that the effects of binge drinking don’t end when college students move on and into the workforce.  The potential for long-term consequences is a clear indication that the phenomenon of binge drinking needs more attention.

If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, Northbound can help.  Our highly-trained clinical staff has developed comprehensive programs at our drug and alcoholism treatment center.  For more information about our services, visit our website.

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