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Researchers have determined that alcohol relaxes every muscle in your body. Except one. Studies show that after three drinks, the most important muscle in your body - your heart - may begin to beat faster or irregularly. Over time, an elevated or irregular heart rate can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and, ultimately, heart disease.

The risk goes up with each additional drink. People who average two to three drinks a day are 40% more likely to develop hypertension than light drinkers and people who don't drink.

For those who average three to four drinks a day, the risk increases to 50%. And heavy drinkers who average six to seven drinks a day - which many people consider normal social drinking - are twice as likely to develop hypertension.

So when you make a decision involving alcohol, maybe you should listen to your heart. Because it may have a hard time keeping up when you drink more than three.