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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 (AFib) Myths and Facts

Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, happens when your normal heartbeat or rhythm is thrown off. Yes, it can be dangerous. Your heart may not be able to pump enough blood.  On the other hand, millions of people with long-lasting AFib live quite well, says Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, chief of the division of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "It's very possible to live a normal life for many years." So let's clear up those ideas that may be limiting you when they don't...

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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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