Atrial fibrillation, which basically is an irregular and rapid heart rate, is actually a quite common condition. It does increase the risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related health problems, while the risk of Atrial fibrillation can be influenced by alcohol. But not all alcohol torments your heart equally. Scientists from the University of Adelaide found that moderate alcohol consumption, avoiding beer and cider, is not too bad (although, is not good either).
Atrial fibrillation (AF) itself is not lethal, but it is connected to deadly conditions, such as heart attacks and stroke. If you’re experiencing heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness, you should get yourself checked – it is likely that you’re suffering from AF. One way to help yourself is giving away all alcoholic beverages, although for now it is still not entirely clear whether consumption of low amounts of alcohol also increases your risk of developing AF.
Scientists decided to figure it out. They analysed a huge pool of data from the UK Biobank, which includes information about half a million UK volunteers. Researchers paid attention to drinking information as well as heart health, trying to see whether there is a link. They found that consuming less than six Australian standard drinks of alcohol per week doesn’t seem to increase the risk of AF. Unless, of course, you’re already suffering from AF – then you may have to consider quitting drinking entirely.
Less than six glasses per week is not a huge amount. On the other hand, it is clear that a little bit of partying is not off the table. In this respect, scientists didn’t find differences between men and women – both shouldn’t drink more than six glasses per week. However, they may have to reconsider your beverage choices.
Scientists found that beer and cider consumption was associated with a greater risk of atrial fibrillation, compared to red wine and white wine consumption. Wine is typically a stronger drink than beer or cider, but compounds in it do not seem to be as heart damaging.
Samuel Tu, lead author of the study, said: “Our findings suggest that responsible consumption of alcohol up to six drinks per week is safe in terms of minimising your risk of atrial fibrillation. For those currently consuming alcohol, drinking red or white wine could potentially be a safer alternative to other types of alcoholic beverages.”
People love drinking. It is not a good habit to have – far from it. But it is unlikely that this part of our culture will disappear in the coming generations. You just have to learn to do it in moderation – it is very important for your body and not just because of AF risk.
Source: University of Adelaide