Going out for a pint or a few cocktails with friends and family is one of the many ways to socialise after work or during your free time.

But although it’s sometimes easy to get carried away when drinking alcohol (a cold beverage can be so refreshing), it’s important to understand the effects it can have on your body.

Too much alcohol consumed can increase the risk of many health problems, from a stroke to type 2 diabetes, according to the British Heart Foundation – but what can it do to your heart?

Does alcohol raise blood pressure?

“Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and weight, increasing risk of a heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes,” reports the British Heart Foundation.

Senior Cardiac Nurse Christopher Allen spoke to Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist at Royal Liverpool University Hospitals to find out exactly how it affects your heart.

The health expert said: “There is a very clear link between regularly drinking too much alcohol and having high blood pressure.

“Over time, high blood pressure (hypertension) puts strain on the heart muscle and can lead to cardiovascular disease (CVD), which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

“Those who drink regularly and consume more than the lower risk guidelines are likely to be advised to cut down or stop drinking completely.”

How much alcohol is 'too much'?

Professor Gilmore explained: “New guidance published in January 2016 by the UK Chief Medical Officers says that both men and women are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level, and that if you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over 3 days or more.”

If you have any health concerns due to drinking alcohol it’s important to see your GP.

You can also find out more information about heart conditions on the British Heart Foundation website.