New research published in the European Heart Journal has found that even low-dose alcohol use can lead to atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeat compared to staying alcohol-free.

Atrial fibrillation or irregular heart beat is a condition that causes dizziness and palpitations and leaves people more prone to strokes.

The new study examined the health effects of alcohol in 107,845  people aged 24 to 97 years by combining records from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Italy that stretched over 14 years.

The study found that the risk of developing the condition increased by 16% with 12g of alcohol a day compared to being alcohol-free. This is equivalent to 330ml of beer, 120ml of wine, or 40ml of spirits.

The higher the alcohol intake the more the risk increased. With two alcohol beverages a day it increased to 28% and with four or more it increased to 47%.

…even low alcohol consumption leads to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation,” said Prof. Renate Schnabel, a consultant cardiologist and co-author of the study at the University Heart and Vascular Center in Hamburg-Eppendorf, as per the Guardian.

Many people have palpitations and dizziness, but one of the bad things about atrial fibrillation is that it’s asymptomatic and can lead to other problems such as stroke. In many people, a stroke is the first manifestation of the disease.”

Prof. Renate Schnabel, consultant cardiologist, co-author of the study, University Heart and Vascular Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf

The results are especially important for people who may have heightened risk for the condition due to other health conditions such as high blood pressure or obesity.

The findings show that reducing alcohol use or going alcohol-free is best to reduce the risks of developing an irregular heartbeat. Raising awareness of this fact can help to improve heart health in communities and the wider public.

Source Website: The Guardian