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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Miscellaneous Cardiology Topics

Question: Alcohol causing fast heart rate and rash

 citygirl11 - Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:49 pm

Hi there,
I'm 18 years old and a college student. 2 things related to drinking alcohol. When i drink alcohol my heartrate speeds up all the way until the afternoon of the next day. So the entire night of drinking it races, and the next morning..I take zoloft and wonder if this may be the cause? Alcohol is a depressant therfore isnt it supposed to slow your heart down, at least thats what i heard? Also i tend to wake up with what appears to be, tiny broken blood vessels on my eyelids, and face. I am concerned, i'm only 18 and i haven't been drinking for too long, i just wish i knew what was wrong.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:59 pm

User avatar Hi there -- While alcohol does have depressant properties, the fact that it also causes visodilation (the blood vessels become larger while it's in your system), this causes a mild-to-moderate drop in blood pressure and a consequent increase in heart rate. Most people do have their heart rates increase during and after drinking. For the same reason (vasodilation) it also causes some people to have capillaries remain engorged after, especially after sleep. Both effects can last a while beyond the buzz period. A few people, those who binge drink or only drink a substantial amount once in a while, can develop an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. While it's often called "holiday heart" it can be pretty annoying or unpleasnt feeling, but usually resolves, especially in young people, before it ever requires any sort of treatment.

All in all your responses to alcohol sound pretty normal. The fact you have a history of anxiety and panic disorder probably explains why you've even noticed this, since anxious people tend to be far more somatically aware (acutely tuned in to what their bodies are doing). This is a mixed blessing at best, since while you may notice something important you might otherwise have missed, most of the time you're going to wind up noticing things you don't really need to notice. This makes somatasization a losing proposition on balance, and something worth working to lose. Easier said than done, I realize.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck to you and please feel free to follow up with us here as needed.

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