Alcohol consumption : I'm interested to... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Alcohol consumption

Flyingcarpet
Flyingcarpet

I'm interested to see how many contributors to this forum are still drinking alcohol and wonder how safe it is.

Having read the leaflets for the numerous tablets I am now taking, and checked the CHADS risk assessment for stroke, I have been too scared to drink more than 2 units per day with an absolute maximum of 8 per week.

I shall find it very difficult over Christmas but being alive and relatively well rather than dead or severely disabled is enough reason for me to hold back.

Comments or helpful tips greatly appreciated.

89 Replies
oldestnewest

It depends on your definition of safe and your attitude to risk. My OH still has a couple of pints twice a week ( literally a couple 4.5 %max so that's 4 units)

I have maybe one small glass of wine or one G and T every couple of weeks.

Christmas is far more entertaining if you don't as you can watch antics of others.

We used to drink a great deal more when younger OH in particular as he would call in for a couple on his way home from work.

These days with all the help we get from medics and NHS it seems ungrateful to muck up their efforts and my personal feeling is as individuals we should be taking resposibility as individuals for our health. Lifestyle changes are the hardest and most effective ways of halting disease progression.

Dolphin14
Dolphin14
in reply to Bagrat

I agree. My husband has had zero alcohol since his problems. It's not worth it.

I don't drink alcohol and I'm healthy.

My brother had heart attack, bypass and a valve and drinks beer. Makes me very angry.

Flyingcarpet
Flyingcarpet
in reply to Bagrat

I very much agree with you. The ambulance crews were wonderful to me both times that I was blue lighted to hospital recently. On neither occasion had I been drinking, but it got me thinking about how what might seem to us as a risk worth taking could have serious consequences, not least for the other people waiting for an emergency ambulance

Richos
Richos
in reply to Bagrat

What’s an OH?

Bagrat
Bagrat
in reply to Richos

Other half . Husband in my case but also SO significant other!!

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star

My cardiologist has no issue with alcohol. All he said was drink within the guidelines (2 - 3 units per day with two dry days per week). He also added "As you can't drink much make sure you drink quality - a decent red or a malt". A great guy!

You need to check with your GP/cardiologist as the specific meds and doses can affect things!

Richos
Richos
in reply to MichaelJH

Agree with you. I have AF and heart failure and still drink alcohol. I’ve never been warned off by my cardiologist but one should always check with him/her in relation to your specific condition and the drugs you are on.

Same as me. I am allowed one glass of wine a day which I stick to.

After my heart attack in December 2018 I stopped drinking anything alcoholic completely. Since July 2019 I've started having the odd alcoholic drink - mainly lager or wine,no longer drink any spirits, stick to a couple of pints or 2 glasses of wine.

During the first 6 months of the year I experimented with alcohol free drinks - a bit hit and miss - some of the stuff on offer tasted vile. I've found that for lager Becks Blue tastes fine and for wine Sainsbury's Alcohol Free Rose tastes quite good- I've just bought 6 bottles this morning so I've got my own supply when I go out over Christmas.🎄

I'm also somewhat worried about how alcohol mixes with all the medicines, so I tend to be very aware of what I'm drinking and limit myself.

To be honest I'm quite enjoying the alcohol free variety - it removes any anxiety and you don't get a hangover (think if I had a few too many after almost 12 months of being good, would probably spend the next day in bed with a hangover!).

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to SpiritoftheFloyd

My favourite alcohol free wine (have not tasted many) is Torres Natureo De-Alcoholised Red, Spanish. It is stocked by Waitrose.

Tried a few reds - all terrible. Haven't tried this one, only issue is the nearest Waitrose is 20 miles away in Southport or 20 miles away Chester.

Just think of the exercise walking there and back!

Hehehe. Love that.

Buy on line?

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to SpiritoftheFloyd

Do Ocado deliver in your area? They list it.

They do, but I've got an annual delivery pass with Sainsbury's, so having multiple passes doesn't really add up!

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to SpiritoftheFloyd

I just searched Sainsburys Online website for alcohol free wines. Besides wines it also came back with alcohol free beers and three mouthwashes! 🙄

The search engine they have does have a mind of it's own. It frequently returns some weird results to a search!

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to SpiritoftheFloyd

Encountered another search engine today. Was looking for a cordless vacuum cleaner for the car. But the search results included corded ones, some pressure cookers and a jumbo can of WD40! Totally beyond me as in recent years I wrote software to search by name (first and last), NI number, Hospital No., etc. It is beyond me how people do things so badly!

There are some amazing search engines out there. I suspect that too many people use the "Like" option in coding, which does produce some amazing results!

Sounds odd, but the last thing a recovering alcoholic would need I'd to use a mouth wash with alcohol in it

Ocado had a third off on a range of 150 wines and beers yesterday. I cancelled the wine I had on order for today and added to them for yesterday.

I'm in permanent AF and coffee and wine don't affect it. My wife has gone off coffee so I seldom make it now. We used to buy a very strong Continental blend.

Yasyass
Yasyass
in reply to MichaelJH

I didn’t know they sold alcohol free wine

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to Yasyass

There are also some extremely low alcohol ones. With a 1% one a whole bottle is just under 1 unit!

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Yasyass

And Beer.

The best I have found is 0% Heineken, for those who like beer. There are also a couple of good Gin substitutes, Lidl do a nice one. Yet to come accross a good wine. So thanks for the input.

Gill1026
Gill1026
in reply to road2ruin

Do you what the Gin substitute is called please?

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to Gill1026

Stryyk Not Gin: (£16, Ocado) is the best one I am told but never tasted it myself!

Gill1026
Gill1026
in reply to MichaelJH

Thanks

£16, sounds like it is taxed like the real thing. I used to work in York Road Battersea. I was taken aback by the smell when I went for the interview as Gordon's Gin and Price's Candle factory were its next door neighbours .

road2ruin
road2ruin
in reply to Gill1026

I use the one from Lidl and sipsmith do one (Not really gin, but a botanicals blend) not good without tonic, but with, not bad at all..

Gill1026
Gill1026
in reply to road2ruin

Thanks

Sainsbury’s do a good alcohol free sparkling wine that’s only about 3 quid, plus it’s not as sweet as many others. I’ve just had my heart attack and three stents fitted in the past month so will be looking at quality rather than quantity. It’s a big change but the alternative isn’t really attractive 😂😂. Good health to all and a merry Christmas too

road2ruin
road2ruin
in reply to Rowing58

Thanks, I will have a look at that.

I used to drink a lot when young. For the past n decades I’ve really only tended to drink at gigs etc. So not a big drinker in recent years except for one shot maybe a couple of times a week. Am planning on migrating to being a more cultured red wine drinker lol.

So I’ve not really changed seeing as the advice is usually that small amounts are actually good for you (docs advice and meds interactions not withstanding).

I certainly won’t be getting plastered any time soon.

I’ve had about 8 pints in total since June, not more than two pints on any day. Might step that up slightly over Christmas but I’ll probably keep to the two pint limit. I don’t miss the hangovers or even the slightly dull head the next morning. The reduction in drinking is one of my main weight reduction keys that’s not worth sacrificing.

I never was a big drinker but 5 yr ago when I was diagnosed with a fib, my EP advised no alcohol plus alot of my meds say dont drink so I havent. I did drink one beer this year as I was craving the taste and the sky did not fall on me😉

I've tried the alcohol free wines but cannot get away with them, so concentrate on good reds and occasional whites, for sparkling can definite recommend Blanquette de Limoux. For alcohol free beers look at the Becks Blue - already mentioned - or Heineken 0%.

When it comes to spirits then the odd glass of Scotch doesn't go amiss - Grouse, Old Pulteney or The Beag are my favourites. Given up on Port though.

Moderation is the key.

MichaelJH
MichaelJHHeart Star
in reply to shopman

Laphroaig for me! 🥃

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star

I drink my OH's home brew New England IPA which is very good.

I also still enjoy drinking wine.

I restrict my port intake for Christmas.

I am lots of tablets and my Cardiologist has never told me not to drink.

All things in moderation though.

My Mediterranean diet includes a glass of wine with supper.

As with a lot of things portion control is key - my glass is small and I enjoy every sip!

Hi Flyingcarpet do you have a night off from the Panto ??

Tonight I have had 4 X 440ml Cans of 5% ABV plus

1 X 660ml bottle of Tiger Beer, started drinking that in Terror Barracks in 1966, I think a lot depends on your mindset in relation to Alcohol ie are you worried about your health.

I am 73 with some luck I may make 80 so I don't think stopping having a drink now will make a lot of difference !!! Now if I was 30 with a young family and just found out I had heart related problems maybe I would stop in fact I would. So as I said a lot depends on an individuals circumstances my Cardiologist or Heart Nurse have never asked me about my alcohol consumption so if they are not concerned neither am I

I am pretty relaxed over my health and I think that is key, I am not saving myself for the future, as that may never come so bottoms up folks.

Oh and Cheers

Milkfairy
MilkfairyHeart Star
in reply to Prada47

Quality of life cannot be under estimated😊

Used to be quite happy going out for 7 or 8 pints then into work the next day.

Then I got older and that became a bottle of red maybe twice a week.

Then started suffering hangovers in my mid 40s and pretty much stopped bothering over the past 5 or 6 years.

So nothing really changed eith my heart attack. If I fancy one I'll have one but have usually lost interest again when it's time for the second or third.

I grew up with alcoholic parents and I saw first hand what alcohol can do.

Although as a teen I did drink very little and up to many years ago.

I chose to give up completely. I don't miss it and have watched my siblings become alcoholics just like mum and dad.

I don't have a problem with other people drinking,it's their choice but I've gotten to the point where I cannot understand people drinking poison and making themselves ill with hangovers.

If we have health problems,as most on here do,it seems to me the most sensible thing to do is eliminate alcohol from our diets.

These are my opinions only,I do not expect anyone to agree with me!

I grew up with parents who didn't drink, they couldn't afford it for one thing and secondly they were very family orientated. I dont drink now but I did go through the young drinker phase. You are so right, I agree with you!

Sadly alcoholism is an inherited condition and you are very wise. My father liked his beer, my younger brother too. Father was very stressed with work etc, brother has lot of personal issues and lonely. I, am watchful but have found I have a limiter, if I have more than my tongues limit, starts to taste like vinegar 😂

wow a built in stopper, well done xx

I haven’t drunk any alcohol for over 2 years, feel so much better not drinking, if you find it hard to stay stopped go to aa where you will find a solution and wonderful support and fellowship! Good luck

Mmmm, I think it is quite clear from my post that I limit myself very strictly. My question was more about how other people see the problem and why they continue to drink, given the risks

Sorry I must of read it wrong, hopefully it won’t be so difficult for you over Xmas to restrict your drinking, good luck

My Cardiologist told me a glass of wine a night wont do any harm but best leave it at just one glass. That's what I tend to do, along with not drinking at all mid week. I did have two glasses one night a couple of weeks ago when I met up with an old friend I hadn't seen in ages. I might do the same over Christmas.

I must admit that I was scared to drink after my ohs last year. I have remained completely "dry" with the exception of a couple of extremely small glasses of rioja on holiday this year. I'm still alive but I don't want to take the risk of getting the taste again! I tend to take my ginger beers with me to family and friends so that I'm not tempted.

When I was monitoring my BP twice per day I found alcohol lowered my rate by about 10 and I do think that one or two drinks are manageable, in my case.

I am sure you'll see your doctor over passing out and you don't want to be flying and fainting!

Same for me, makes me wonder if many of us were self medicating all along

I drink rarely now, maybe half a pint of weak lager every 2 months with certain friends when we have a meal out. That's because they just pre-order for me not realising I dont drink now and I see no reason to interfere with the long-standing habit.

No-one actually needs alcohol and I can enjoy myself without it, but then I am usually in a good mood anyway. No worries for me about medications and that makes me feel better than any old glass of gin or whatever.

Hi I stopped drinking it's been a year now dont miss it as you say the tablets we take be scary but still happy

When I had my heart attack in 2015 the consultant asked me how many units of alcohol I drank in a typical week, I replied 22 just at weekends. His reply was that's ok, keep to that, the guidelines were 24 units a week at the time. Now try to keep below the recommended 14 units a week with no drink Monday thro thursday, sometimes sunday too.

Honestly you are best advised to stop altogether. Alcohol gives you nothing and could make your situation much worse. It is your decision- but do not kid yourselsf

do not kid yourself that any amount is OK, because it is not. Have a happy healthy alcohol free Christmas, cheers

Like you I have done extensive research.

The two drinks a day I read as 2 units. So that's 14 a week.

There is little evidence that this isn't safe with noacs.

As an aside the reduction from 21 to 14 units recently only improved your health over a 10 year span. So at 71 I decided I'd stick to the old level.

Until I got af, redid the research now 14 units is safe with af in my view.

There is a lot of genuine stuff on the web about this. Suggest if still worried read it before Xmas and make your decision from that!

Hic

What I did was review the likely causes of my atrial fibrillation. Drinking 35 units a week was the stand-out culprit in my case.

Following a successful cardioversion I was (am) paranoid about reverting to a-fib. So I gave up alcohol altogether. I can recommend abstinence, it's been much easier than I anticipated, easier than dieting.

I carried out extensive research of articles in PubMed, and came to the conclusion that YES alcohol was the cause of a-fib, there is no safe limit. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves.

Haven’t touched alcohol for 10+ years. I used to brew my own real ale as well 25yrs ago. Like smoking, I stopped 25yrs ago and found it easy to stop both from day one.

seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Dickydon

Our favourite home made wine was rice and raisin wine with a bit of a kick to it. We fermented the liquid for several days before decanting it into a demi john to bubble away. We were about to put all the rice and raisins from the fermentation into the dustbin when we thought that it would provide a good feed for the starlings that visited our garden for scraps. Dozens of the birds swooped down and tucked into their feast, it was many hours before they left as the remains of our brew must still have been very potent and they were left staggering drunkenly about the lawn unable to take off. Whenever we made the wine again we were more careful in disposing of the residue.

I got to enjoy wines when my husband used to audit a company who owned wine companies, he’d bring some really nice wines home cheaper. We only drank with a meal. When he started going to Australia and we started getting Australian wines 😊

Few years ago, my daughter and I took a Sommeliers course for fun. We enjoy different wines and the pairing with food makes all the difference. We don’t just open bottles, only with our weekend dinners or if I go out for a meal and never more than 2. I like the odd G&T or cherry brandy.

If it was necessary to totally abstain, then I’d have to, but I enjoy my wine.

I don’t like the term ‘use alcohol’ because I don’t, I enjoy it. To use means just that.

I used to drink 1 daily beer, sometimes 2, then 3 on weekends. After my HF diagnosis I quit until recently been having one glass red wine a week which is enough to get the full benefits that red wine provides. Not drinking beer has helped my beer gut diminish and that’s a another good reason to limit intake. However still enjoy a craft beer or two with friends occasionally

Oh dear all these "good" people is driving me to drink!! Before my correct diagnosis there were weird things happening to my liver enzymes so I had to stop any alcohol for 3 months and I actually found it easy. Fortunately having got the correct diagnosis eventually I could recommence to have a little of what does me good and post op despite some warnings on medication notes the Cardiologist has never said Never!! So I have the odd pint or two usually once a month with pals and I enjoy a bottle of wine with my lady over a two or three days plus the odd Scotch or Rum or G&T as the mood takes. So far so good at 75 what the heck life is to be enjoyed as long as possible not to be endured as long as possible!

I have cut down drastically may be 2 small glasses of wine weekends.

I rarely missed a night of not drinking over the past 40 years. About 5x350ml glasses of white wine a night was the norm.

Now I stick with the 14 units a week but have them on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 per night.

The only problem is from Sunday to Thursday nights I don't know what to do so I nibble on foods.

I haven't touched a drop since 2002, not because of heart but when I was put on a medication that advised against alcohol. Haven't ever missed it. There are plenty of alternatives these days. If I get a bad urge for a whiskey I buy a miniature and find that just a taste is adequate. Otherwise it's no alcohol wine or beer.

hi my love i have a gin and tonic 3 times a week my doctor and heart consultant say thats not a bad thing and a small amoutwont hurt so enjoy

Gin my tipple too. My husbands fa ult . I suspect my glass was always surrepticiously topped up while i was cooking dinner. He is dead now but i still drink gin! But i tried elderflower with tne tonic and gin and liked that. When alcohol was not advisory with pain killers i just drank tonic and elderflower and really didnt notice the difference.

I have HF.

Stopped drinking 5 years ago. Go on holidays and socialise without alcohol. Having been a drinker for 40 years has been enough!

Don't miss it at all.

Trying to take care of myself with exercise and sensible eating.

I am on holiday abroad in the sun for the winter. Merry Christmas everyone! X

My husband has A.F. and he asked the nurse who did his blood test about alcahol. He told her truthfully how much he drinks, it is not regular, but on our nights out about every six weeks. She said it was ok, so he does not worry.

I've cut down drastically since my heart attack 2 years ago. I only have either a glass of wine or a bottle of beer on a Saturday night . The rest of the time I stick to non alcoholic beers when on nights out with friends.

Hi

Well I have just given into taking my ccb nifedipine and it states very clearly you can drink but it may increase side effects. I am assuming it means drinking in any excess also it states drinking can further reduce your BP.

I had one G n T last night strong, I felt fine. And tonight have poured myself a glass of my favourite organic red, the bottle was opened on Thursday evening so it must be finished 😂.

I tend not to drink until Friday night but as you state with it being Christmas, I'd be just very conscious, also ensure you drink 2 litres of water each day.

I'm determined to have more than one of my favourite cocktails (French Martini) over the festive season.

Salute, Cheers, Bottoms up!!

I have restircted my drinking and now only drink on days that have a "d or y" in them.

Hi. Flying carpet.

This made me think. See if it inspires you?

At the age of 50 I emigrated to Malaysia, a largely Muslim country. Of course Muslims don't drink alcohol.

Even though I knew alcohol wasn't healthy, I still drank more than the recommended amount. My main reason for drinking was social and a quick method of relieving stress.

I asked a few Muslims what they did to relieve stress. I got several different answers including eat chocolate, watch television, praying etc.

I asked myself why do I drink alcohol and they don't?

The conclusion I reached was 'culture'. In England alcohol is deeply engrained in us from early childhood. My grandfather, my father aunts and uncles drank it's also normalised by TV and Movies. So it seems like the right thing to do.

Good luck with your challenge and think how satisfied you will feel when you say, "no thanks, I don't drink"

Yasyass
Yasyass
in reply to Boybiker

Yes Muslims r taught at young age not to drink or eat pig so that way it’s easier for them if u notice they mostly have tea or soft drinks at social gatherings

Prada47
Prada47
in reply to Boybiker

Was it Alcohol or Social Interaction that is/was the Culture of going down the pub.

My father would have the odd bottle of Thwaites, East Lancs Pale Ale, but he still died at 68 that was in the days not so long ago when a Whisky was for the Rich .

I have a very occasional drink but not much. My husband and I were at the cardiologist the other day and my husband asked him if he drank alcohol. He said occasionally but generally no more than 2 standard drinks a week. He said he’s happy with the guidelines of no more than 2 standard drinks a day one or two alcohol free days each week for most people. A recent study out of Melbourne said people with AF should have no more than 2 standard drinks per week.

Boybiker
Boybiker
in reply to Kaz747

Hello Kaz747. I think it's really difficult to do the best thing for yourself because the professional advice is so conflicting. Blindly, I have chosen the NHS site as my guide to a healthy lifestyle.

I have emphysema have had two heart attacks and two stents on 10 medications daily, couldn't name them but I am 100% sure I am not allowed alcohol with any of them. I am sure I am going to be lambasted here but....I go out with a friend who has had a mitral valve replacement and had a pace maker and defibrillator fitted..we have a mad day/night every so often and drink way way way too much ...crazy most definitely....enjoyable..without doubt...dangerous...for sure......I will live once...and once only...as will my pal we have discussed this and have drawn the conclusion that...if nothing else we will go out with a bang...!!

NessaArthur
NessaArthur
in reply to Antb01

Nice one! I too have HF after 4 heart attacks and have had an ICD fitted, I’ve just turned 60 and had first HA at 51, fit as a fiddle I thought, not over weight and did all the right things to be healthy. I love my red wine, I now try to have only 1 bottle a week over 4 nights. I look forward to my glass of wine and I think that we’ve only got one life, I would rather have a few less years than no enjoyment. Over Christmas I shall indulge and in the new year get back on track again, I refuse to worry anymore, life is short, live it! Merry Christmas to you all!

Pete Sutton your heart has to work over time to get rid of fluid around the heart -max 2 litres a day -tea- coffee-even soup is counted. I will check this with my G P -If you are drinking beer

that is fluid.I have not had any alcohol for 7 years .can you tell me how do people run whem you have heart problems?

Prior to my heart attack I had cut down my alcohol intake to roughly equal to the UK government guidelines. Despite being assessed as low risk anyway and despite my moderate alcohol intake it didn't prevent me from having a heart attack a year ago. There is no evidence that alcohol was a contributory factor for my HA and it is not an identified primary risk factor for heart disease.

Nothwithstanding the excellent advice from several contributors to follow any specific advice from your cardiologist regarding your particular condition and medication, the general advice for cardiac patients is the SAME as for the general public. That is to limit drinking to 14 units per week including a number of dry days. This is roughly where I am today.

To those of you who have given up (or virtually given up) alcohol and are happy with your decision then I say good luck to you. That is obviously the right answer for you. I would never dream of telling you that it is wrong to abstain.

Several contributors to this thread have offered personal opinions as facts - saying that drinking (at all) is not worth the risk or is a disservice to the health professionals who cared for and probably saved you. Flyingcarpet - Don't let such statements put you off from enjoying special occasions such as Christmas (your own condition/medication permitting).

Im curious do any of you drinkers find that even a few drinks makes your heart race? As is the case with me. :-(

Well done to u and yes ur health comes first u can live without drink it becomes easier

I had intended replying to this post (but then forgot) saying alcohol isn't a trigger for me so if I wanted to have a glass of red wine I did but never more than one. However, last evening, long meal with friends, conversations, laughs , I had a second glass. Not only did I feel really ill but I had an afib episode in the early hours of this morning. I've made the decision to abstain.

Happy and healthy 2020 to you all and hope you stay afib free.

Vee x

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