Increased Heart Rate after Drinking
by gromo6372, Oct 23, 2007
I am a 47 year old white male dignosed with SVT after a one time incident back in January 2007. My heart rate increased suddenly to around 220. They gave me an IV and injected me with Adenosine (spelling?) abd that corrected my heart rate.

I am now on metoprolol. I had a stress test and ekg that came back normal, blood tests indicating no heart attack or damage. I have been walking about 3 days a week and feel good.

My question, issue, concern is,  when I drink beer or wine in excess (more than three) I wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing around 95-100, and on occasion around 105.

Is this a dangerous situation?
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Member Comments (4)
by deedle1976, Oct 23, 2007
I get this too, it's not nice and hard to get back to sleep with a racing heart.

Alcohol makes the blood vessels dilate lowering your blood pressure and your heart has to compensate for this by pumping faster in order to get the blood around your body. My cardiologist told me this.
I just don't drink to excess anymore.
by tinymatches, Apr 23, 2008
i too have this. i drink once a week about 6 - 8 beers and i will wake in the night about 5 feeling dehydrated and heart is just racing hard and fast. like you i would say around 95 - 105. its then creates some anxiety in me and i start freaking out.... i will just try and relax and go back to sleep or take a xanax so i dont panic. i hear its becuase alcohol decreases electolyes in the body.. i dont know if you have an answer let me know. good luck
by bgrimes86, Apr 24, 2008
Not only does alcohol cause vasodilation and loss of electrolytes, but it also activates the sympathetic nervous system, which results in a slight to moderate increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Some people are more prone to this effect than others. It relaxes you and makes you feel calm, but also speeds up the cardiovascular system, except when large amounts are consumed.
The most likely reason as to why your heart begins to race several hours after a drinking session is due to the fact that alcohol slows down your central nervous system by affected GABA, a neurotransmitter that slows nervous system transmission by indirectly lowering epinephrine and norepinephrine levels (your body's "fight or flight" neurotransmitters). As the alcohol begins to wear off, GABA levels decrease, and epinephrine and norepinephrine levels subsequently increase. This is what happens when alcoholics experience withrawals, except it is much more pronounced, so much so that it can result in death.
Don't worry about your heart beating around 100 bpm; this is not very fast (but sure is scary!)

- Ben
by isukathis, May 20, 2008
I am 43 and have had SVT episodes for about 15 years. I usually get about 1 or 2 a year with a heart rate of about 240 and it too is reverted with a shot of Adenosine. These episodes have almost always occurred after a weekend when I have  consumed more alcohol and caffeine than during the week.

I have since quit caffeine and reduced my alcohol fr about 11 months now with no episodes. I do however get "flutters" every couple of days where it feels like I'm going to have an episode but don't. Maybe the caffeine and or alcohol were triggers?

My cardiologist suggested that I have an ablation but I thought I would try quitting coffee first. I do "feel" like I will probably have to have the ablation sometime in the future, its just a feeling....

Hope this all helps.
by jkfrench, May 20, 2008
I have the same problem.  I don't drink in excess but even one martini or a glass of wine will make my heart race aound 100.  First, it puts me to sleep, then around 1 or 2 am I wake up to it racing.  I drink a big glass of gaterade and it really really helps me.  I think my problem for me is my electrolytes get a little wacky.  Not only does it race, but is skips a little too.  This is also the same when I have a flu bug.  I had that stomach virus that was going around and lost 4 lbs overnight.  I woke up to horrid pvc's.  I drank two glasses of gaterade and within 30 minutes the pvc's were GONE.  I know some people don't believe in gaterade but it fixes me right up.  
Take care
by Sweetwaterguy, May 20, 2008
   Alcohol carries its own set of health risks--and benefits.  The benefits of one drink a day for females and no more than two for males is well documented and well studied in the scientific community.
    After that, the health risks are also well documented.  I was told when my a fib issues began  to avoid alcohol.   When I explained that my consumption is never more than one per day and not more than 3-4 in a month, then the doc said "No problem."  Excessive drinking is a known arrhythmia trigger for many people, and apparently you are in that group.   The only way to mitigate the problems you describe is to keep your consumption within the guidelines.   If you are unable to do that, then you might consider your more serious health issue to be that of addiction.  
by brituc1, Jul 18, 2010
I've had a similar experience. After a night of drinking, I was watching tv the next morning and could tell my heart was beating faster, so I checked my pulse and it was 120 bpm. I was concerned so I went to the doctor. They performed an EKG, checked my bp and kept an eye on my pulse. They said everything was fine except my bp was a little high, but days after that I kept an eye on it and it went back to normal and remained that way. The next time I drank, I experienced the same thing but went about my day without worry. By the evening, my vitals were all normal again. Even though 120 bpm is kinda high, my resting heart rate remains normal until I introduce alcohol to my system (which as most people know constricts blood vessels). A couple of tips that I've discovered that help me is that if I eat a heavy breakfast in the morning and take a couple of aspirin for the hangover as well as a precaution, my resting pulse returns to normal sooner than it would without. Don't get me wrong, since this happened I have cut back dramatically on my partying. So long as you are responsible and don't drink all the time (I'm not a doctor, just spewing common sense stuff) I think a more rapid heart rate is to be expected.
by bmbb1234, Feb 04, 2011
Couple of things on alcohol.  While it does relax you and is considered a CNS depressant, it still increases the amount of cortisol and sympathetic nervous system hormones in the body.  Thus, you get an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.  Especially the more you drink.  I noticed in the past that more than two drinks, and my heart rate really goes up.  It is also very high in the morning and I tend to wake up in the middle of the night as the alcohol wears off.  

Another real issue is that having alcohol in your system when you are asleep is a bad idea for a number of reasons.  One is the sleep disturbance issue I was talking about.  It decreases REM sleep which is important for the brain to save memories and to feel refreshed the next morning.  One of the reasons we feel tired and sluggish after a night of heavy drinking.  The other issue with nighttime drinking is that when you sleep, your body wants to repair and recover from the day's activities so Growth Hormone is sky high and insulin is very low.  A perfect environment for healthy tissue and immune system repair as well as burning a lot of fat.  When you have alcohol in your system during sleep, the alcohol will be what is being burned and you won't be burning fat much at all.  I really noticed this when I used to drink at night as compared to now where I have my last drink before dinner.  By the time I am in bed, no alcohol in my system means more fat burning at night which means less bodyfat.  I lost 10 pounds in a month following this plan.  My gut really shrunk.  It does make a big difference.