Share on PinterestResearchers say episodes of atrial fibrillation can be caused by binge drinking. Fresh Splash/Getty Images
- Researchers say binge drinking can produce episodes of atrial fibrillation (AFib), even in people who aren’t diagnosed with the condition.
- They came to their conclusion after examining Bluetooth-enabled Breathalyzers.
- They said emergency department visits for AFib increased on days when excessive drinking was more common, such as New Year’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday.
- Experts say people diagnosed with AFib should limit their alcohol consumption.
More emergency department visits for atrial fibrillation (AFib) occur on days when excessive drinking is more common, according to a new study published on Jan. 12 in the journal Nature Cardiovascular Research.
Researchers examined data from 36,158 people who used Bluetooth-enabled Breathalyzers.
Researchers looked for days when these devices were used more often or had higher measurements. These days included New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Super Bowl Sunday, the initiation of daylight saving time, Father’s Day, Independence Day, the FIFA World Cup, and Christmas.
The scientists then compared this information to hospital emergency room visits with a diagnosis of AFib. They found a significantly elevated number of hospital visits on those days. The results were most significant for people over age 65. Many people in the emergency room were not previously diagnosed with AFib.
To ensure the increase was not widespread across heart rhythm disorders, researchers also looked at diagnoses of supraventricular tachycardia. They discovered the same relationship with alcohol did not exist.
They said the results showed alcohol was a risk factor exclusively for AFib.
“Our new data suggest that acute alcohol consumption in the general population is associated with a higher risk of an episode of atrial fibrillation, including a higher risk for the first episode among individuals never previously diagnosed with the condition,” Dr. Gregory Marcus, a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco and associate chief of cardiology for research at UCSF Health, said in a statement. “Worldwide, alcohol is the most popularly consumed drug. It is now clear that alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for AFib.”
AFib is when the heart’s upper chambers beat irregularly and do not efficiently move the blood into the ventricles, according to the American Heart Association.
This can cause heart-related complications such as blood clots, stroke, or heart failure.
Nearly 3 million people in the United States live with AFib.
Common symptoms include:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
Some people might not experience symptoms and might be unaware that they have the condition. Symptoms can mimic those of other heart conditions.</…….