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Coronary Artery Disease and Alcohol


The latest research shows that drinking a little alcohol doesn't increase or decrease your risk for coronary artery disease. But alcohol use can increase your risk for other cardiovascular diseases and cancer. footnote 1

If you drink alcohol, try to drink less. You can lower your risk of coronary artery disease with a healthy diet, exercise, and not smoking. Talk with your doctor about what is right for you.

Drinking too much can be dangerous and can cause problems. Your risk of harm from alcohol is low if you have 2 alcohol drinks or less per week, moderate if you have 3 to 6 drinks per week, and high if you have 7 or more drinks per week. Having more alcohol may:

  • Contribute to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for coronary artery disease.
  • Increase your risk of stroke.
  • Directly damage heart muscle (alcoholic cardiomyopathy), which may weaken the heart, leading to heart failure.
  • Cause abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
  • Interact with your medicines if you are being treated for heart disease (or other diseases or conditions).
  • Increase your risk of liver disease.

Drinking alcohol may also increase your risk of some types of cancer. Any amount of alcohol may increase that risk.

Related Information



  1. Paradis C, et al. (2023). Canada's guidance on alcohol and health: Final report. Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. Accessed February 15, 2023.


Current as of: June 25, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
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