Can't find something? Search Here.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Increases Risk of Atrial Fibrillation

Posted in Addiction News

The risks associated with alcohol consumption most often bring to mind those linked with heavy alcohol consumption. Vehicular accidents, risky sexual behaviors and injury are all tied to the reduced inhibitions typically experienced when binge drinking.

However, there are serious risks that are associated with more moderate alcohol consumption as well. A recent study by researchers at the McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario found that when individuals with heart disease or progressive diabetes consume a moderate level of alcohol, they may face an increased danger of atrial fibrillation.

The study, led by Dr. Koon Teo from McMaster University, appears in a recent issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Koon explained that when moderate drinkers who have heart disease or have diabetes drink heavily, the danger of atrial fibrillation is comparable to that experienced by those who are habitually heavy drinkers.

The study’s analysis comes from an examination of a trial involving 30,000 individuals with a diagnosis of advanced diabetes and cardiovascular disease resulting in organ damage. The patients were all over the age of 55 and residents of 40 countries.

The data originated from the TRANSEND and ONTARGET studies, conducted between November of 2001 and May of 2004, with a follow-up period extended to 56 months.

The participants had an median age of 66.4 years. Of the participants, 29.8 percent of them were women. Among the participants, 61.7 percent consumed only up to one drink each week, considered to be low consumption of alcohol.

Of the remaining participants, 36.6 percent engaged in moderate consumption, and 1.7 percent reported that they had a history of high consumption, defined as at least three drinks per day for men and two drinks per day for women.

The World Health Organization defines Binge Drinking as consuming five drinks in one day. This definition is true for all low-, moderate-, and low-level drinkers. The analysis of the participants showed that among binge drinkers enrolled in the survey, 948 were moderate consumers of alcohol.

During the follow-up phase, there were 2,093 new cases of atrial fibrillation. For every 1,000 persons-years, there were 14.5 cases in the low consumption group, 17.3 in the moderate consumption group and 20.8 were in the high consumption group.

The authors of the study note that, given that moderate alcohol consumption was common among the participants, the findings show that there may be an increased danger of atrial fibrillation experienced when there is an increased consumption of alcohol, even when it is consumed in moderate amounts.

The authors of the study also suggest that beliefs about the protective properties of moderate alcohol consumption in those who have an increased danger of cardiovascular disease may be contradicted with the findings of the study.