Drinking Increases Risk of Arrhythmia in Adults with Heart Disease

Angela Ayles
by Angela Ayles | October 2, 2012 @ 8:20 am | 1 

Many studies suggest there are countless benefits to having a glass or two of wine a day but a new report out of Canada reveals that even moderate alcohol consumption can put adults with heart disease or diabetes at risk of developing atrial fibrillation – the most common form of arrhythmia.

Study author Dr. Koon Teo understands that the message might be confusing, given many adults have been told for years that a glass or two of wine a day is actually good for your health. He says, “It is in a way confusing because if I was 65 or 70, I’m used to having two drinks a day because my doctor says it’s good, now this new study says ‘You know, it maybe it’s not so good.’”

The study analyzed data from two large trials aimed at studying the treatment regimes for controlling high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Over 30,000 adults (average age 66) in 40 countries were monitored for four and a half years on average.

The goal of the study was to “tease out risk factors for atrial fibrillation.” People who suffer from this disease experience symptoms like racing heart beats, dizziness or loss of breath, even when they’re not exerting themselves. According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundations, approximately 350,000 Canadians have this type of arrhythmia. Sufferers are three to five times more likely to have a stroke.

The study results showed that heavy drinkers were more likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation. To put things into perspective, heavy drinkers were considered those who drank more than 14 drinks (women), 21 drinks (men) per week. Moderate drinkers are those who drink between 1 and 14 drinks per week and light drinkers consume less than a drink a week.

Internal medicine specialist in Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto says that, while this information is helpful, it does not prove there is a direct correlation between heavy drinking and atrial fibrillation.

“I think it’s fair to say increased alcohol intake does appear to be associated with an increased risk of atril fibrillation. It may or may not be the cause and perhaps additional research in the future will help sort that out,” he said.

Will you cut back on your alcohol intake after reading this article?

Source: Calgary Herald