Science 2 min read

Frequent Drinking Increases Your Risk Of Atrial Fibrillation

A new study revealed that drinking alcohol frequently can increase a person's risk of developing a heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation.

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According to a recent paper published in EP Eurospace, drinking small amounts of alcohol frequently can increase your risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) – a heart rhythm disorder.

Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm that’s characterized by the rapid and irregular beating of the atrial chambers of the heart. Symptoms of the condition include chest pain, dizziness, tiredness, and shortness of breath.

Prior studies of the correlation between alcohol and atrial fibrillation suggest an increased risk of 8 percent for every 12 g of alcohol. That means, for every ten drink you take, your risk of developing the heart rhythm disorder increases to 80 percent.

The problem with these studies was that the researchers could not identify which is more important: the total amount of alcohol or the number of drinking sessions.

In a statement to the press, study author, Dr. Jong-Il Choi said:

“Recommendations about alcohol consumption have focused on reducing the absolute amount rather than the frequency. Our study suggests that drinking less often may also be important to protect against atrial fibrillation.”

Effect Of Frequent Drinking And Binge Drinking On Atrial Fibrillation

For the study, the researchers analyzed over 9 million individuals without atrial fibrillation.

In 2009, the volunteers participated in a national health check-up, which included a questionnaire about their alcohol consumption. So, the researchers followed-up every year until 2017 for the occurrence of heart rhythm disorder.

The findings suggest that the number of drinking sessions per week was the strongest risk factor for-onset atrial fibrillation.

In other words, you risk developing this condition when you drink every day, compared with a twice per week habit. Meanwhile, the researchers found no clear link between binge drinking and new-onset of the condition.

Dr. Choi noted:

“Our study suggests that frequent drinking is more dangerous than infrequent binge drinking with regard to atrial fibrillation. The number of drinking sessions was related to AF onset regardless of age and sex.”

Now here’s the odd part.

According to the researcher, there’s a 2 percent increase in the risk of developing AF for every gram of alcohol consumed per week. By comparison, those who drank high, moderate, and no alcohol had 21.1 percent, 7.7 percent, and 8.6 percent elevated risk, respectively.

With that said, Dr. Choi admitted that further research is necessary to confirm the protective effect of mild drinking.

Read More: Researchers Explain Why Humans Are Prone to Heart Attacks

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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