Frequent drinking versus binge drinking: If you're someone who loves alcohol and indulges in it quite often, then you may want to keep a tab on it now. A recent study, published in the journal EP Europace, has emphasised on the intake of small amounts of alcohol and linked it with a higher likelihood of atrial fibrillation in comparison to binge drinking. A common heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke by five-fold. Some of the symptoms of atrial fibrillation include shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, tiredness, palpitations, and racing or irregular pulse.
"Our study suggests that drinking less often may also be important to protect against atrial fibrillation," said study author Jong-Il Choi, from Korea University College in South Korea. For the study analysis, 9,776,956 individuals without atrial fibrillation were studied. These individuals underwent a national health check-up in 2009, which included a questionnaire about alcohol consumption. The participants were then followed-up until 2017 for the occurrence of atrial fibrillation.
The researchers of the study examined the relative importance of frequent drinking versus binge drinking for new-onset atrial fibrillation.
As per the findings of the study, for new-onset atrial fibrillation, the number of drinking sessions per week was the strongest risk factor, whereas, binge drinking did not show any clear link with it. In comparison to drinking twice per week (reference group), drinking every day was the riskiest, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.412, while drinking once a week was the least risky (HR 0.933). For each gram of alcohol consumed per week, there was a two per cent increase in the risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation.
"Our study suggests that frequent drinking is more dangerous than infrequent binge drinking with regard to atrial fibrillation," Choi said.
Repeated episodes of atrial fibrillation triggered by alcohol may lead to overt disease, the research notes.
Compared to mild drinkers, those who drank no alcohol, moderate, or high amounts had 8.6 per cent, 7.7 per cent, and 21.5 per cent elevated risks, respectively, the study said.