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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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Can You Have AFib and Not Know It?

The signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) might seem pretty hard to ignore: a racing heart, trouble breathing, chest pain, and dizziness. You’d feel these symptoms and know something was wrong, right? Maybe not. Nearly a quarter of the estimated 2.7 million people who have AFib have no symptoms at all. The problem is called silent AFib. With this condition, the chambers on the top of your heart, called the atria, flutter instead of beating normally, which can put stress on the heart muscle. Since...

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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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