Research suggests drinking alcohol may thin the blood by affecting platelets, which are the parts of blood that initiate coagulation, or clotting. However, alcohol may also increase the risk of blood clots.
This article explores how alcohol affects the ability of the blood to clot. It also discusses alcohol use disorder. Finally, it answers some common questions about alcohol and blood thinning.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Blood clotting is essential to prevent blood loss when someone is injured or wounded. However, it can also have adverse effects. For example, if a blood clot forms and limits the flow of blood in the arteries, doctors call this thrombosis.
Some people take medications to prevent the blood from clotting or slow the clotting process. They may refer to them as blood thinners, anticoagulants, or antiplatelet drugs. A doctor may prescribe these medications to reduce a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
The above review noted that low to moderate alcohol consumption
However, people should not consume alcohol instead of taking medications as a healthcare professional has prescribed. Additionally, a person should discuss whether they are able to consume alcohol while taking blood thinners, as alcohol may interact with some medications and
According to the above review, daily drinking of significant amounts of alcohol
The review authors highlighted that previous research has suggested drinking significant amounts of alcohol every day has links to a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. They also discussed studies that indicated higher levels of alcohol consumption have associations with an increased risk of stroke, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure.
Additionally, the authors discussed older studies that suggested binge drinking can cause temporary increases in blood pressure. They also highlighted that long-term heavy drinking and binge drinking may increase someone’s risk of various cardiovascular conditions.
Experts define binge drinking as consuming in excess of four drinks for females or five drinks for males
- a 12 ounce (oz) beer with 5% alcohol
- a 5 oz glass of wine
- 8 oz malt liquor of 7% alcohol
- 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor
AUD is a medical condition where a person is unable or
Healthcare professionals treat AUD with medications and behavioral therapies. They may also recommend joining a support group for individuals with AUD.
People can speak to their doctor if they think they or someone they know may have AUD. Additionally, the
Below are answers to common questions about whether alcohol may thin the blood.
Does alcohol thin the blood before surgery?
Because research suggests that
Additionally, the NIAA advises that studies have indicated that heavy alcohol use and AUD have
Can people drink alcohol while taking blood thinners?
Blood thinners may interact with alcohol as well as certain other medications, foods, and dietary supplements. For example, the
Therefore, a person should speak with a healthcare professional about whether it is safe for them to drink alcohol while taking medications.
Can someone drink alcohol instead of taking a blood thinner?
People should not use alcohol in place of blood thinners. While alcohol
A person needs to speak with a doctor about taking blood thinners safely.
Research suggests that in low to moderate amounts, alcohol
Therefore, a person should not drink alcohol instead of taking blood thinning medications as a doctor has prescribed.
People should speak with a healthcare professional about consuming alcohol and taking blood-thinning medications safely. A person should also speak with a doctor or access online support if they have concerns that they or someone they know may have AUD.