Moderate Drinking Linked to Heart Rhythm Problem
When it comes to your heart, you can do a lot to keep it healthy. For instance, you can stop smoking and exercise more. Past research has also shown that an occasional drink may boost heart health. But older people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes may want to reconsider how much they drink. A recent study found that even moderate drinking for these people may raise their risk for atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is a heart rhythm disorder. It causes the heart to have an irregular beat. About 2.7 million Americans have the condition. It increases a person's risk for stroke.
Researchers looked at data for more than 30,000 people across 40 countries. Participants were 55 and older. All had a history of cardiovascular disease or advanced diabetes. Among this group, researchers found a higher risk for atrial fibrillation in those who drank a moderate to high amount of alcohol.
Researchers defined moderate drinking as two drinks daily for women and three drinks a day for men. Drinking more than five drinks a day was considered binge drinking.
"Our findings suggest that the effect of increased alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts, on the risk of atrial fibrillation among patients with existing cardiovascular disease may be considerable," says Koon Teo, Ph.D., of McMaster University in Ontario.
Even though studies have shown a possible link with moderate drinking and a healthier heart, research is ongoing. Wine, in particular, may be beneficial. Experts do know that too much alcohol can increase your risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and obesity.
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that everyone limit how much alcohol he or she drinks. Focus on moderation. And if you don't drink, don't start. The AHA considers moderate drinking as one drink daily for women and one to two drinks daily for men.
This study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association.
Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.