Ev­ery drink sinks the heart

The Star Early Edition - - METRO - | Daily Mail

EVEN mod­er­ate drink­ing dam­ages the heart, a study re­veals.

As few as five glasses of wine a week can pro­duce greater signs of scar­ring and ab­nor­mal heart rhythms that raise the risk of strokes, ex­perts sug­gest.

So-called atrial fib­ril­la­tion (AF) – rapid and ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat – is known to be caused by ex­ces­sive drink­ing. But re­searchers also found a wor­ry­ing im­pact from mod­er­ate drink­ing – as lit­tle as a weekly in­take of five 175ml glasses of wine or five pints of beer at 4% strength.

AF oc­curs when ab­nor­mal elec­tri­cal im­pulses over­ride the heart’s nat­u­ral pace­maker, which can no longer con­trol the rhythm of the or­gan. The con­di­tion puts pa­tients at a greater risk of strokes be­cause blood might not be pumped out of the heart prop­erly, caus­ing it to pool and clot.

Re­searchers at the Al­fred Hos­pi­tal in Mel­bourne tested the hearts of 75 pa­tients who had AF over two years.

There were 25 pa­tients in each of three cat­e­gories: life­long non-drinkers, mild drinkers and mod­er­ate drinkers. Pa­tients con­sum­ing the equiv­a­lent of about four glasses of wine a week were con­sid­ered mild drinkers. Those who had an av­er­age of nine were de­fined as mod­er­ate drinkers.

The au­thors found mod­er­ate drinkers “had more ev­i­dence of scar­ring and im­pair­ments in elec­tri­cal sig­nalling than non-drinkers and light drinkers”.

The re­search was pub­lished in the jour­nal Heart Rhythm.

A spokesman for the Al­co­hol In­for­ma­tion Part­ner­ship said: “This study’s def­i­ni­tion of mod­er­ate drink­ing far ex­ceeds the NHS rec­om­mended in­take which most British drinkers stick to.”

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