Moderate alcohol consumption may raise risk of atrial fibrillation

Moderate drinking having health benefits is a myth that has lost its value with current studies indicating that drinking even in moderation can affect the heart in unforeseen ways. This is evident from a research carried out by a group of scientists from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) that reveals how average alcohol consumption may alter the heart’s structure, thus, increasing the potential risk of atrial fibrillation (AF).

The researchers in their study titled “Alcohol Consumption, Left Atrial Diameter, and Atrial Fibrillation” is based on findings of previous studies pinpointing how drinking alcohol has been linked to probability of suffering from AF. The study that got published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association in September 2016 tried to examine the assumption that an atrial myopathy, exhibited by the echocardiographic left atrial enlargement, describes the link between prolonged alcohol use and AF.

Explaining the purpose, senior author of the study Dr. Gregory M. Marcus, an endowed professor of atrial fibrillation research at UCSF said, “There’s growing evidence that moderate alcohol intake may be a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disturbance in the world, but the mechanism by which alcohol may lead to atrial fibrillation is unknown.”

The scientists for study purposes observed the damage to the heart’s left atrium known to be a potential risk factor for some people suffering from stroke, as a potential link between alcohol and AF. This is because the irregular pumping of blood can cause formation of blood clots that may travel to the brain and result in stroke.

More than one drink every day causes physical damage to heart

The scientists analyzed details obtained from more than 5,000 adults collected over a period of many years in the Framingham Heart Study including their echocardiograms, medical history and self-reported data of alcohol consumption. The respondents, mostly white and aged between 40 and 60 years, informed of having more than one drink every day. The scientists observed that over a period of 10 years, eight out of 100 people were at a likelihood of developing AF.

The assessment of data revealed how every extra drink each day was linked to heightening of yearly risk by five percent. Each additional drink on daily basis was also linked to a 0.16 millimeter enlargement of the left atrium, thus, emphasizing a potential site of physical damage that may be caused due to continuous drinking behavior.

Treating alcohol addiction is necessary to stay healthy

The scientists are still trying to find out the mechanisms which may cause certain heart conditions to affect a certain group of people and help doctors prescribe accordingly. Though not all cardiovascular disorders are associated with risk of heart attack, studying relationship between AF and alcohol in preventing damage to heart is important as drinking habits are common among a major population of the U.S.

Regular drinking may result in high tolerance for alcohol pushing people to drink more to experience the same feeling of high to be relieved from day to day stress. This, in turn, may result in a dependence on alcohol, thus, necessitating immediate treatment.

If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol, contact the Alcohol Addiction Get Help Helpline for adequate assistance and right guidance. Call us at our 24/7 alcohol addiction treatment helpline number 866-281-3014 or chat online with our experts for information on alcohol addiction treatment centers in USA that offer a diagnostic approach in treating the root cause of the problem.