Heavy Drinking Can Lead to Abnormal Heart Rhythm

Deborah Shipley's picture

An analysis published by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) found a link between heavy drinking and the incidence of abnormal hearth rhythm, or atrial fibrillation.

The data was collected from fourteen eligible studies and analyzed by a team led by Satoru Kodama at the University of Tsukuba Institute of Clinical Medicine in Japan. The study team found that heavy drinkers were more likely to be diagnosed with abnormal heart rhythm, or atrial fibrillation.

The study results found that heavy drinkers were 51 percent more likely to have atrial fibrillation than occasional drinkers , or non-drinkers. The percentage went higher with every added 10g of alcohol intake.

Heavy Drinking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) heavy drinking can generally be categorized as more than an average of two drinks per day for men, and more than an average of one drink per day for women.

Atrial Fibrillation Facts

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a heart rhthym disorder that may occur rarely, occasionally, or frequently. It may last for a certain period of time, or continue permanently.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says:


“ AF occurs when rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the atria (AY-tree-uh), the two upper chambers of the heart, to fibrillate. The term "fibrillate" means to contract very fast and irregularly.”

Individuals who experience abnormal hearth rhythms may experience a flutter in their heart, they may become anxious or light-headed, feel weakness, or chest pain, or they may have no physical symptoms at all.

Current Recommendations and Resources

The recommendations in the conclusion of this analysis state that abstaining from alcoholic consumption is advised in relation to atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation can be treated with various lifestyle changes such as abstaining from alcohol, and it may also need further treatment with medicine or medical procedures.

Individuals who are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation can lead normal and active lives with proper care.

For more information on atiral fibrillation visit: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/af/af_what.html

For assistance with stopping heavy drinking: www.aa.org