Even One Drink a Day May Affect Your Heart

One alcoholic drink per day linked to increased risk of atrial fibrillation

(RxWiki News) Even one small alcoholic drink each day may affect your risk of heart issues, a new study found.

This study found that consuming a small amount of alcohol each day may lead to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib).

AFib occurs when the heart beat becomes irregular. This condition can lead to heart-related problems like blood clots, stroke and heart failure.

Compared to drinking no alcohol at all, one alcoholic drink per day was tied to a 16 percent higher risk of AFib over the study's 14-year follow-up period.

“These findings are important as the regular consumption of alcohol, the ‘one glass of wine a day’ to protect the heart, as is often recommended for instance in the lay press, should probably no longer be suggested without balancing risks and possible benefits for all heart and blood vessel diseases, including atrial fibrillation,” said lead study author Dr. Renate Schnabel, of the University Heart and Vascular Center, Hamburg-Eppendorf, in a press release.

Past research has shown that people who consume a lot of alcohol face increased risks of cardiovascular conditions like heart failure. Now, this new study of almost 108,000 European adults has found that even small amounts can pose increased heart risks.

And these risks appeared to increase with increased alcohol intake. While one drink per day was tied to a 16 percent higher risk of AFib, two drinks per day bumped that up to 28 percent. And consuming more than four drinks each day was tied to a 47 percent higher risk of AFib when compared to those who consumed no alcohol.

This study asked participants to report the amount of alcohol they consumed, so the amount of daily alcohol may be under-reported, the study authors noted. These researchers also pointed out that this study only shows a link between alcohol intake and AFib — not a cause-and-effect relationship.

If you are concerned about your alcohol intake or heart health, talk to your health care provider.

This study was published in the European Heart Journal.

The European Research Council, German Center for Cardiovascular Research, German Ministry of Research and Education, various grants and other supporters funded this research. Study authors reported individual funding from various pharmaceutical companies and health companies.