Taking time out for air

Entering your heart, alcohol reduces the force with which your heart muscle contracts. You pump out slightly less blood for a few minutes, blood vessels all over your body relax, and your blood pressure goes down temporarily. The contractions soon return to normal, but the blood vessels may remain relaxed and your blood pressure lower for as long as half an hour.

At the same time, alcohol flows in blood from your heart through your pulmonary vein to your lungs. Now you breathe out a tiny bit of alcohol every time you exhale, and your breath smells of liquor. Then the newly oxygenated, still alcohol-laden blood flows back through the pulmonary artery to your heart, and up and out through the aorta (the major artery that carries blood out to your body).

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