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Can You Drink Alcohol When You Have High Cholesterol?

Affinity Health is a leading provider of high-quality health cover. Here are their views on binge drinking for people living with high cholesterol.


A glass or two of red wine daily can lessen the chance of developing heart disease. Alcohol has some heart-healthy properties. But before you raise a glass and toast to your heart, you should be aware of the dangers of alcohol.


Can Alcohol Raise Cholesterol Levels?

First, the good news! Moderate drinkers have lower incidences of cardiovascular disease. They may even live longer than abstainers.


Additionally, alcohol may reduce the risks of blood clots. Alcohol can also reduce inflammation.


Red wine may be beneficial for reducing the risk of heart disease and death. It includes higher levels of natural plant compounds, such as resveratrol. This is a compound with antioxidant characteristics and may protect artery walls.

What are the Dangers of Consuming Too Much Alcohol?

Now, the bad news! Light to moderate alcohol intake may be beneficial to your heart health. But excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of:


Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption can result in:


Heavy alcohol consumption may render the heart too weak to pump effectively. That is a condition known as congestive heart failure.


Learn More: The Effects of Alcohol on the Brain

All You Need to Know About Cholesterol

You may know that cholesterol is dangerous to your health. But your body needs cholesterol to execute essential functions. Examples include producing hormones and constructing cells. Cholesterol circulates through the blood on two lipoproteins:


HDL (high-density lipoproteins

That is the good cholesterol that can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.


LDL (low-density lipoproteins

That is the bad cholesterol that can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Excessive LDL cholesterol can accumulate in your blood vessel walls. That accumulation is known as plaque.


As your blood vessels accumulate plaque over time, their interiors become constricted. That constriction can eventually obstruct blood flow to and from vital organs. Blood flow obstruction may cause angina or a heart attack.


“Your body requires cholesterol for proper functioning. But too much cholesterol can lead to health problems. That includes an increased risk of heart disease. So, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level is essential,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


Affinity Health does not recommend that you start drinking alcohol to lower your cholesterol or improve circulation due to the dangers of alcohol consumption.

Instead, Affinity Health recommends:

  • Controlling your weight.
  • Consuming a balanced diet.
  • Exercising regularly to maintain appropriate cholesterol levels.


“If you do plan to drink, consult with your doctor first. Drink in moderation (one glass of wine or beer a day for women, two for men),” adds Hewlett.

Does It Matter How Often And How Much You Drink?

Many variables influence the effects of alcohol on health, including cholesterol levels.


It is important to remember that alcohol affects individuals differently. For instance, women are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. That is because they have lower quantities of the alcohol-degrading enzyme dehydrogenase. So, women cannot metabolise alcohol at the same pace as men. They absorb more alcohol into their bloodstream. That is why alcohol consumption recommendations vary by gender.


Current recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption are one drink or fewer per day for women and two drinks or less per day for men.

When Should You Consult a Physician?

A healthcare expert can analyse your cholesterol levels and potential heart disease risk factors. They can determine whether they are within a healthy range.


“Light to moderate alcohol consumption is unlikely to worsen cholesterol levels. But heavy alcohol consumption is dangerous. If you are concerned that your drinking is negatively impacting your health, you should visit a medical expert,” concludes Hewlett.


Learn More: What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is the leading provider of affordable medical insurance in South Africa. Members enjoy access to a network of healthcare providers. We have designed healthcare products to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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