Weekend Binge Drinking Is Screwing up Your Health All Week

March 13th 2016

Alex Mierjeski

Three, four, five, six drinks in a night pretty much guarantees a crappy morning (or longer) the next day for most people. But the effects of a night's heavy drinking could drag out long after the headache and nausea fade away.

Effects of drinking

Drinking at least six cocktails in one night could increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes over the next week, according to a new analysis of existing research published in the journal Circulation earlier this month. Even just one drink could increase those cardiovascular problems the next day.

But drinking more booze doesn't necessarily mean a higher risk of heart problems. The study also found that moderate drinkers could have a lower risk of heart attack and stroke the following week compared to both their more indulgent drinking buddies as well as their sober friends.

"The impact of alcohol on your risk of heart attacks and strokes depends on how much and how often you drink," Harvard School of Public Health's Elizabeth Mostofsky, who was a lead author of the study, told Reuters.

The analysis, which looked at 29,457 participants across 23 studies published between 1987 and 2015, gives us a better idea of how alcohol effects the body in the days after it's consumed. Previous research has suggested that moderate drinking is good for lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems in the long run. But the researchers found that alcohol's ability to increase "good" cholesterol and potentially lower the risk of blood clot formation was relevant the week after a moderate night out, too.

Still, they shied away from recommending drinking outright — and for good reason.


"There is consistent evidence that heavy drinking raises the risk of heart attack and stroke both in the long and short term," Mostofsky told the U.S. News & World Report. "If you drink, do so in moderation." For women that's one drink a day, and two drinks a day for men, according to the Mayo Clinic.