I have been drinking quite regularly lately(beers) and have noticed that I experience constant pains on my left side of the chest and my left upper arm too, infact I feel a little numbness on my arm as well, my upper left backhurts a lot too. Please help, could this be a heart disease caused by too much alcohol? Im worried. What could be causing chest pain after drinking alcohol?
Chest pain is apparently a common problem that occurs after drinking alcohol, at least, according to the people who discussed it on SteadyHealth. The reason for this pain, however, remained a mystery for most, who asked:
What could be causing chest pain after drinking alcohol?
For most, this problem occurred after nights of heavy or binge drinking. Many described the pain as chest tightness, burning in muscles across the chest and shoulders, or squeezing pain and throat that feels like "glands are swollen." Most who experienced the chest pain reported it on the left side, and it was often accompanied by the pain in the left arm, shoulder, neck, and upper back. An occasional rapid heart beating (tachycardia) has been reported as well. The pain aggravates when people lay down to sleep at night which is followed by shortness of breath. One member reported that pain usually starts anywhere within 15 minutes of drinking and lasts around 40 minutes.
Could it be the coincidence when you drink beer and you feel the pain in your chest?
Most participants experienced the chest pain after drinking beer, which can be attributed to the amount of CO2 that can cause gastrointestinal problems. However, beer wasn't the only culprit. Others reported that they experienced pain after drinking other alcoholic drinks, such as one glass of wine, whiskey, bourbon, or one bottle of vodka.
Since the pain has been mostly reported on the left side of the chest, many who participated in this discussion were worried that it could indicate heart disease.
Please help, could this be a heart disease caused by too much alcohol?
The evidence indeed shows that drinking alcohol, especially in larger quantities, can cause cardiovascular problems, from arrhythmia to heart attack. However, some participants pointed out that chest pain could rather indicate gastrointestinal disturbance, such as heartburn or GERD, than a cardiovascular problem.
So is this a stomach thing or a heart thing?
Most of the symptoms of indigestion are similar to those of heart attack. You cannot make a diagnosis. It's up to your doctor to do that. If you experience chest pain with or without drinking alcohol, you need to make an appointment.
Besides cardiovascular problems and GERD, other potential causes mentioned in the discussion were an allergy to sulfites present in alcohol, dehydration caused by drinking alcohol that affects the muscles, acute pancreatitis, and lymphoma, particularly if there's a pain in lymph nodes after drinking alcohol which is usually a sign that it could be a lymphoma.
What do experts say?
While chest pain doesn't necessarily indicate cardiovascular problems, regular alcohol drinking and binge drinking can be harmful to your heart. Hence, it is important to visit your doctor in order to get the right diagnosis.
How is alcohol related to heart problems?
Alcohol has a toxic effect on many of your organs, including the heart. Alcohol can affect heart health in many ways, even in moderation. Heavy drinking and alcohol abuse make the thing worse. Even if you're not a regular drinker, one night of binge drinking can take a toll on your heart.
- Atrial fibrillation - Some research suggests that having up to three alcoholic drinks each day may increase your risk for atrial fibrillation (Afib), the most common type of heart arrhythmia, which can cause symptoms including lack of energy, dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and chest pain. Those who drink wine and liquor moderately are at an increased risk for atrial fibrillation.
- Myocardial ischemia - Wine and liquor are not the only culprits. Drinking beer has been also associated with cardiovascular problems, particularly with myocardial ischemia, a heart disease that occurs when blood flow to the heart is reduced, preventing it from receiving enough oxygen, thus leading to the heart attack.
- Alcoholic cardiomyopathy - An alcoholic cardiomyopathy is a type of heart disease caused by a long-term alcohol abuse that weakens and thins the heart muscle, affecting its ability to pump blood. The lack of blood flow disrupts all body’s major functions, which can lead to heart failure and other life-threatening health problems. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is most common in men between the ages of 35 and 50, but the condition can affect women as well. It usually doesn't have any symptoms, which occur when there's heart failure.
- Heart attack - Drinking more than three alcoholic drinks per day can lead to a level of toxic substances in the blood that directly increases the risk of heart attack. Heavy and binge drinking increase the lipids in the blood, which is a type of fat that can harden arteries, increasing cholesterol and arterial plaque which can block the blood flow to the heart and reduce the amount of needed oxygen. This can cause weakened heart muscle, and finally the death of heart muscle.
GERD as a cause of chest pain
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic medical condition that’s caused by the inability of the lower part of the esophagus to function properly. As a result, the acid and contents from the stomach are splashing back into the esophagus, repeatedly irritating its delicate tissue causing chest pain, burning (often called heartburn), and irritation of the esophagus. Chest pain is a classic acid reflux symptom that lasts longer and is more intense than expected. This is the reason why many people mistake heartburn for a heart attack.
Alcohol is a known contributing factor to acid reflux, however, it affects people differently. This means that some people with GERD can enjoy alcoholic drinks in moderation. The researchers found that both beer and wine triggered reflux in both men and women.
Watch for painful lymph nodes
Pain with drinking alcohol has been associated with Hodgkin lymphoma, particularly a pain in the lymph nodes after drinking alcohol, or rarely a chest pain. However, the pain after drinking alcohol is not one of the key symptoms in the diagnosis of lymphoma. In fact, it is quite rare. Generally, the pain associated with alcohol consumption is much more commonly due to other conditions, particularly alcohol intolerance and allergy that can be a result of celiac disease (gluten sensitivity), histamine intolerance, wheat allergy, and sulfite allergy.
What symptoms have been reported?
- Recently I've been getting chest pains and waking up the next day thinking that I'm so hungover I feel like I could die, it's like my body was trying to tell me something wasn't right.
- I drink wine normally and im fine but today I had a dbl shot of wiskey and I feel like im dieing!
- I have been drinking quite regularly lately(beers) and have noticed that I experience constant pains on my left side of the chest and my left upper arm too, infact I feel a little numbness on my arm as well, my upper left backhurts a lot too.
- hey im 21 and me and some friends drank 2 nights ago not just beer but liquor i was mixing all kinds of stuff ever since ive had this squeezing chest pain and it is like in my throat as well like my glands are swollen ecspecially when i lay down to sleep at night i get short of breath any ideas?
- Hi I have the same problem, get lower left chest pains for a few days after drinking.
Have the doctors made any diagnosis?
- I am 51 years of age and have been diagnosed with heart failure, probably due to my past binge drinking of alcohol.I have been told by the cardiologist to stop drinking alcohol as my heart is being poisened when drinking any alcohol.
- That happened quite often, well, I just got back from the beach for the holiday and yesterday I seriously thought I was dying, went to the emergency room got blood work x-rays and EKG, the Doctor said it was Pleurisy and that can cause some of the worst chest pain.
- I had an EKG recently and the heart Dr says I am ok, but I still am concerned.
- I had an exam and found out my heart and blood pressure were completely normal.
- my mom is a worry freak and had the doctors do plenty of test and everything came back normal.
What helped relieve the pain?
- The remedy is to stop drinking.
- Try taking tums or some other heartburn medicine and see if it relieves the symptoms.
- I have to get a hot cup of tea or coffee and it releases.
- I would recommend all of you to just take a couple of days alcohol free, drinking a TON of water during this time.
- Control your blood levels or make sure you take an aspirin before drinking alcohol and drink plenty of water.
- I've since quit the fags and changed my diet to include fruit and veg, 5 times a day, every day.
- i was having the same pain just a few minutes ago, i got up walked around for a little bit then drank a bottle of water and now i feel fine.
- I have to get a hot cup of tea or coffee and it releases.
- if you can eat green bell pepper.
- Use a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar instead.