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Alcohol and AFib Risks: Is It Safe to Drink?

Drinking certain kinds of alcohol daily can raise your chances of getting atrial fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that makes your heart beat really fast. AFib can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart conditions.

Moderate drinking (one to three drinks a day). A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found a strong link between moderate drinking and getting AFib. Oddly enough, the study found this to be true for people who drink wine and liquor, but not beer.

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Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Disease

The heart has four areas, or chambers. During each heartbeat, the two upper chambers (atria) contract, followed by the two lower chambers (ventricles). This is directed by the heart's electrical system. The electrical impulse begins in an area called the sinus node, located in the right atrium. When the sinus node fires, an impulse of electrical activity spreads through the right and left atria, causing them to contract, forcing blood into the ventricles. Then the electrical impulses travel in...

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This can be tricky, because many studies suggest that light or moderate drinking may be good for your heart and can cut your risk of heart disease and stroke. So it’s important to weigh the risks of both. Talk to your doctor about your health history and what makes the most sense for you.

Heavy drinking (more than three drinks a day). This bumps up your risk, and it seems to go up the more you drink. Studies suggest that for every extra drink you have a day, your risk goes up by 8%.

Binge drinking (more than five drinks on one occasion). This also puts you at a larger risk of getting AFib. Studies found this to be true for people who drink wine or hard liquor. It’s not clear if this is true for drinking beer.

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