Menu Close

Addiction Recovery Blog

Addiction Treatment for a Brighter Future

Contact Us Today!

What Is Alcohol Vasodilation?

Person thinking to herself, "What is alcohol vasodilation?"

When you drink alcohol, you undergo many changes in your normal body function. Some of these changes are short-term and may not cause serious harm. But others can be much more serious and lead to a need for alcohol addiction treatment. One effect you may not be aware of is alcohol vasodilation. This effect widens or dilates your blood vessels. However, if you drink in large amounts, alcohol can have the opposite impact on your vessels. In turn, you may put yourself at risk for major cardiovascular problems. Contact BRC Healthcare today at 888.559.2036 to learn more about what alcohol vasodilation is and why it’s critical to find an alcohol addiction treatment program that’s right for you.

Understanding the Widening of Your Blood Vessels

As their name indicates, your blood vessels circulate and channel your body’s blood supply. For various reasons, the space available inside these vessels can change. Sometimes, they widen or dilate. The term for this widening is vasodilation. Your blood vessels can also narrow or constrict. The term for this narrowing is vasoconstriction.

What is alcohol vasodilation? When you drink alcohol, your blood vessels can widen significantly. Since drinking is the source of this effect, it’s known as alcohol vasodilation. When vessels dilate for any reason, they tend to pump blood less efficiently. If your pumping efficiency drops below a certain point, you may experience effects such as:

  • Dizziness
  • A feeling of overheating
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness

Alcohol also makes other changes to your system that can increase your exposure to these effects and worsen their impact.

Why Is Alcohol a Vasodilator?

Why does drinking dilate your blood vessels? The answer to this question lies in alcohol’s chemical impact on your system. At any given moment, a balance of chemical signals helps determine the diameter of your blood vessels. Specific signs tell them to widen, while others tell them to constrict.

At low levels, alcohol increases the strength of chemical signals that support blood vessel widening. It also decreases the strength of signals that cause your vessels to narrow. Some parts of your circulatory system are more affected by these changes.

Alcohol Problems and the Dangers of Vasoconstriction

Is alcohol a vasodilator in all circumstances? No. If you drink enough, the vasodilating effect will disappear. And in its place, you’ll start to experience vasoconstriction. What causes your blood vessels to narrow when your alcohol intake increases? The chemical process that causes your vessels to narrow gets reversed. Instead of encouraging widening, alcohol begins to encourage narrowing.

Alcohol-related widening of your blood vessels can potentially support cardiovascular health when not taken too far. However, experts agree that the effect isn’t significant enough to cancel out the common negatives of alcohol use. If you drink heavily, vasoconstriction is a much more likely health concern. Cardiovascular issues linked to heavy alcohol use include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risks for stroke
  • Higher chances of developing severe heart disease

You may need help for any of these issues, even if you never meet the criteria for an alcoholism diagnosis.

Find Out More About Alcohol Addiction Treatment at BRC Recovery

Have more questions about the impact of alcohol use on your blood vessels? Turn to the compassionate professionals at BRC Recovery. We’ll happily explain the potential effects of alcohol vasodilation and vasoconstriction.

Do you or your loved one need help with alcohol-related problems? BRC Recovery is your inclusive and innovative provider of alcohol treatment. We feature long-term recovery programs for both men and women. Our customized approach helps you achieve lasting sobriety that withstands the many challenges that life throws at you. To learn more, contact us at 888.559.2036 or fill out our online form.