COPD: Is It Safe to Drink Alcohol?

RxList does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. While alcohol is not shown to greatly affect a person’s COPD, large amounts of this drug can create a problem for people with this condition. Fortunately, COPD and alcoholism are both treatable conditions. Many pain and anxiety drugs become more intoxicating as they mix with alcohol, and that means they can slow your heart rate and breathing to a dangerously low level. In order to reap symptom relief and long-term benefits of your medication, follow your doctor’s guidelines closely when it comes to diet and lifestyle.

Yes, you may need to take off a day from work to keep an appointment, but it will be time well spent because Frieda, you CAN be helped! There is no reason for you to continue suffering as you are now, while facing the possibility of getting worse. As my COPD progresses I know I may not realize the speed it progresses. These articles aid me in being proactive and taking positive steps to understand this disease and taking care of myself. I also developed Lupus which also has its breathing problems as a “gift” to me!

  • Unfortunately, the bottom line is that you have a serious problem that needs the advice and attention of a pulmonary physician sleep specialist to help you feel better.
  • Awareness areas include alcohol use risks, AUD treatments, AUD prevention, and the effects of alcohol misuse on individuals, families, and communities.
  • I assume he is not smoking since you didn’t mention that.
  • I also developed Lupus which also has its breathing problems as a “gift” to me!
  • Drinking alcohol at night can also affect your sleep in other ways—by affecting the muscles in your throat and worsening obstructive sleep apnea.

Alcohol can interfere with many medications, especially glucocorticoids and antibiotics. If you are taking medication to manage your COPD, even a moderate amount of alcohol can reduce its effectiveness. But alcohol can also increase the power of certain medications, which may endanger your lungs. Although the effects of alcohol on the heart, liver and brain are widely known, recent research suggests that the lungs deserve more attention – especially when a lung disorder is involved. Hopefully, with more research, the effects of alcohol on COPD will be better understood.

However, these metabolites are also slightly toxic to the liver, and in large numbers can lead to problematic inflammation. Alcohol also impairs decision making, short-term memory, and can lead to anxiety and depression. In the long term, heavy alcohol use can cause permanent damage to the parts of the brain responsible for memory, motor skills, and emotional regulation.

Alcohol and smoking as risk factors

Drinking enough water can help you burn fat and increase your energy levels. This page explains exactly how much water you should drink in a day. Teenagers with fetal alcohol syndrome can face unique difficulties. Events may aim to raise awareness or funds for rehabilitation centers in their area or to fight the stigma that often comes with addiction. Alcohol Awareness Month is dedicated to increasing public knowledge about the dangers of alcohol and the effects and causes of alcohol use disorder.

can you drink alcohol with copd

Now we can address the very real problem of your anxiety, which makes you resort to self medicating with the whiskey. I have taken care of hundreds of patients and almost all admit to being nervous, scared, frightened or anxious when I first see them. I’ve always had eco sober house complaints alot of energy but I find that almost everything that I do that I’m gasping for air. I’m looking for as much information as I can get to learn more about this disease. As a COPD patient, it’s very important that you get an adequate night’s sleep each and every day.

COPD and Alcohol: The Truth About the Risks

While your physician is the first person to ask for detailed information about your condition, let’s face it, most doctors do not have the time you need to fully cover this. This is one reason why participating in a pulmonary rehabilitation program is so valuable. Ask your physician if a referral to one might be considered for you.

can you drink alcohol with copd

This group includes people who regularly inhale chemicals, wood, or dust particles at work. If the only time you develop breathing problems is after drinking alcohol, you should still see your doctor. You may have a rare allergy to the ingredients found in wine, beer, or spirits. This suggests that many people with COPD regularly drank before being diagnosed with COPD. With this in mind, it’s hard to determine whether their alcohol consumption contributed to their diagnosis. Additionally, regular or chronic drinking prevents your lungs from keeping up a healthy airway.

Can Alcoholism Lead To COPD?

Many people who start drinking are unable to stop on their own. Thankfully, effective treatment is available for those with alcohol addiction, as well as any co-occurring physical or mental health concern. Additionally, many alcoholic drinks have ingredients like gluten, which can trigger an allergic response for some.

“Alcohol increases the risk for respiratory infection by interfering with respiratory clearance mechanisms,” Schachter says. That’s why if you’re a smoker, doctors recommend you stop smoking right away. If you have COPD, managing the symptoms and making lifestyle changes can be one of the most important parts of your treatment plan.

Learning the cause of your pain is another very important reason for you to get a referral to the appropriate specialist physician. You need that thorough physical plus additional testing as soon as possible. And you need to find the reason for the pain, and for your exacerbations, as well as for getting prescriptions for the medications necessary to help you. As you have been told, alcohol makes this problem worse, or can even cause it. In addition, while alcohol at first makes you sleepy, the effects wear off after several hours and may awaken you, even if you didn’t have OSA.

People can also speak with a doctor about diet and lifestyle strategies that may help them maintain a moderate weight or stop smoking. Harvard Health advises that fluid retention can be life threatening for a person with a history of heart failure. Sometimes a doctor may need to advise a person how much fluid they can drink because the kidneys compensate for diminished blood flow by retaining fluid in the body. Asthma is a condition that causes breathing difficulties. Learn how alcohol use can affect asthma and how to lower the chances of an attack.

People who use or misuse alcohol are more likely to smoke. This combination increases your risk for several conditions and can aggravate symptoms of COPD. A 2016 study indicates that being diagnosed with a medical condition or beginning treatment for a serious disease, like cancer, often prompts some adults to quit drinking.

Your FEV1 result can be used to determine how severe your COPD is. This should be a person who can be tough with you but also cheer you on. Explain your plan, and decide on steps of intervention if you slip up or need additional help from outside resources. Getting support from another person trying to quit may not be ideal. Instead, you need an accountability partner, someone you can turn to when your resolve is waning. Diagnosing COPD requires a physical exam, a review of your medical history, and some tests.

Alcohol Can Reduce Sleep Quality and Increase COPD Symptoms When You Sleep

Over time, these cardiovascular changes can lead to much more serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease. At locations throughout the U.S., Vertava Health provide alcohol rehab programs with personalized treatment plans. This means that every patient is assessed and provided a treatment plan to fit their unique needs. For people with COPD, this may include medical monitoring and medication-assisted treatment. Many people don’t realize they have allergies or sensitivities to alcohol. When a person flushes, becomes itchy, or gets a stuffy nose after drinking, it’s a sign their body may be sensitive to alcohol.

Top Is It OK to Drink Alcohol With COPD Related Articles

If you haven’t seen your doctor in a while or if you develop suspicious symptoms before your next visit, make an appointment. In its earliest stages, COPD may cause no symptoms at all. Drinking regularly may increase your risk of developing COPD. Drinking alcohol can interfere with the medication you might take for COPD, such as antibiotics or steroids.

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. Symptoms may not be obvious until the condition is advanced. That’s why getting a diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as you can are vital. Still, 1 in 4 Americans with the disease have never smoked. Other causes also contribute to who develops the condition. But there’s another factor that complicates the condition.

That makes understanding the relationship between drinking, smoking, and COPD hard to pin down. But there’s plenty of research showing that drinking too much can cause serious problems with your lungs. She doesn’t recommend that patients go out and start drinking to decrease their risk of COPD, eco sober house she adds. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions about COPD and alcohol. They can give you advice specific to you and your treatment plan and can help find the best ways for you to keep your COPD in check. If you have COPD and an alcohol addiction, it’s important to get help.

Author: Nancy Proctor

Nancy Proctor is Chief Strategy Officer and founding Executive Director of The Peale, Baltimore's Community Museum, based in the first purpose-built museum in the U.S. Previously, Nancy was Deputy Director of Digital Experience and Communications at the Baltimore Museum of Art (2014-2016), Head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution (2010-2014), and Head of New Media Initiatives at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum (2008-2010). With a PhD in American art history and a background in filmmaking, curation and feminist theory and criticism in the arts, Nancy lectures and publishes widely on technology and innovation in museums, in French and Italian as well as English. She edited Mobile Apps for Museums: The AAM Guide to Planning and Strategy in 2010, and coordinated the publication of Inclusive Digital Interactives: Best Practices + Research for MuseWeb with Access Smithsonian and the Institute for Human Centered Design in 2020. Nancy served as Co-chair of the international MuseWeb (formerly Museums and the Web) Conferences with Rich Cherry, and edited its annual proceedings from 2012-2020. Nancy created her first online exhibition in 1995 and went on to publish the New Art CD-ROM and website of contemporary art – a first in the UK – in 1996. She co-founded in 1998 with Titus Bicknell to present virtual tours of innovative exhibitions alongside comprehensive global museum and gallery listings. TheGalleryChannel was later acquired by Antenna Audio, where Nancy led New Product Development from 2000-2008, introducing the company’s multimedia, sign language, downloadable, podcast and cellphone tours. She also directed Antenna’s sales in France from 2006-2007, and was part of the Travel Channel’s product development team 2007-2008. As program chair Nancy led the development of the Museums Computer Network (MCN) conference programs 2010-2011, and co-organized the Tate Handheld conference 2008 & 2010 with Jane Burton. She started the MuseumMobile wiki and podcast series in 2008, was Digital Editor of Curator: The Museum Journal from 2009-2014, and is now on the Journal's editorial board, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Omnimuseum Project.