A recent study has suggested that frequent consumption of alcohol in small quantity is more dangerous than infrequent binge drinking and increases the risk of atrial fibrillation (A-fib). It is a condition that results in irregular heartbeats.
Dr. Jong-II Choi, the study author who is a professor in department of internal medicine at Korea University College in Seoul said that most of the recommendations on alcohol consumption have dealt with the amount of consumption and not the frequency. A-fib is a common type of heart arrhythmia which is a condition in which heartbeat becomes irregular, too slow or too fast. Prof. Choi said that there are many complications associated with this disease which impairs life’s quality. The main symptoms of A-fib are fast or irregular pulse, shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, chest pain and dizziness. As per CDC, nearly 2.7-6.1 million people in the US have the disease.
A-fib is mostly caused due to the damage caused to the electrical system of the heart. This damage can arise from any complication from a heart surgery or a heart disease. Uncontrolled and high chronic blood pressure can also affect the heart. One of the major effects of A-fib is the creation of blood pool in lower chambers of heart which raises the likelihood of blood clotting. This is the reason for 4-5 times higher risk of stroke in people with A-fib. Earlier studies have shown that chances of getting A-fib increased with an increase in consumption of alcohol. In the present study the effects of frequent consumption of alcohol was compared with that of binge drinking. For the study 9,776,956 people from the Korean National Health Insurance database were analyzed. These people were tracked from 2009 till 2017.
It was revealed from the study that weekly consumption of alcohol was a risk factor behind new onset of the disease. There was a higher risk associated with daily consumption of alcohol rather than with drinking two times a week. No association between a new onset of A-fib and binge drinking was found. For every additional gram of alcohol consumption per week, a 2% rise in risk of a new onset of the disease was found. Prof. Choi said that the frequency as well as the amount of alcohol should be reduced to prevent new onset of A-fib.