Over time, excessive use of alcohol has a direct toxic effect on the heart muscle cells. The heart muscle becomes weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. The lack of blood flow affects all parts of the body, resulting in damage to multiple tissues and organ systems. Alcohol may also directly damage the liver and other organs.
Review Date: 1/25/2013
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Senior Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.