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Doctors explain the effect of low amounts of alcohol on the heart

Even small portions of alcohol can become a likely cause of atrial fibrillation, according to a study published recently in the Europace EP.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder. Its main complications are stroke and heart failure. The insidiousness of this disease lies in the fact that the patient does not feel it, or simply feels an accelerated heartbeat without associating it with heart problems.

In this case, the accompanying arrhythmia symptoms: fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath – are often attributed to common malaise. Meanwhile, atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke fivefold.

What are the causes of atrial fibrillation? Risk factors include not just heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and thyroid disease. It seems that the recent discovery of South Korean scientists will replenish this list. Even small doses of alcohol have been found to affect heart rhythm disturbance.

This was revealed during the national long-term large-scale health screening program in South Korea. Scientists have been able not only to assess how common heart disease is among the population, but also to understand the causes of its occurrence. In particular, doctors have been able to establish how seriously alcohol affects heart rate.

The fact that the risk of atrial fibrillation is associated with the amount of alcohol consumed has long been known. Doctors know the “linear correlation between alcohol and atrial fibrillation: every 12 g of alcohol per week (one drink) increases the likelihood of developing the disease by 8%. But it was not clear what was most affected by the total amount of alcohol consumed or the frequency of drinking.

The study answered this question: Those who drink little but regularly are at greater risk.

The scientists analyzed data from 9,776,956 people who had no arrhythmias at the start of the observation. For eight years, they were observed by a cardiologist – until the program was repeated in 2017.

Based on the questionnaire data, the authors calculated how many times a week patients consumed alcohol, what was the average alcohol dose per day and per week.

"Our study shows that alcohol consumption is more dangerous," said Chen Il-Choi of Koryo University School of Medicine in Seoul. "To protect against atrial fibrillation, it is important to drink as little as possible. In addition, alcohol consumption can cause sleep disorders." which is a known risk factor for atrial fibrillation. "

Scientists noted: those who drank little but daily atrial fibrillation occurred 1.41 times more than those who drank twice a week (age and sex did not matter).

Thus, Dr. Choi convinces, the best defense against arrhythmia is the rare use of alcohol: "Atrial fibrillation is associated with a deterioration in quality of life and can lead to various complications. Therefore, it is better to prevent the disease than to prevent it. treat it later. Alcohol is one of the risk factors that can be easily eliminated. " "and it's important not only to reduce the total alcohol dose but also the frequency of use."

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