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  • Alcohol And AFib | Alcohol’s Effects On Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

    Alcohol consumption affects many parts of the body, especially the heart. Heavy drinking or binge drinking can lead to serious issues such as atrial fibrillation (AFib). 

    What Is AFib?

    AFib is a condition where your heart beats out of rhythm and often rapidly but sometimes it can also beat slowly or normally. If someone develops AFib, it can lead to other concerns such as blood clots and strokes. In fact, AFib causes a number of symptoms that may include:

    • dizziness
    • heart palpitations
    • lack of energy
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain
    • abnormal heart rate

    AFib is dangerous and should be taken seriously. If you suspect you have AFib, see a doctor right away. 

    How Alcohol Affects The Heart

    Drinking alcohol in large quantities can lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. For instance, a high alcohol intake can cause:

    When a large amount of alcohol is consumed, there can be a strain on your heart. This can cause damage to your heart, poor heart health, and even heart failure. 

    Alcohol & AFib 

    When a person drinks too many alcoholic drinks, inebriation occurs. Not only can alcohol be dangerous when consumed in large quantities, but it can also cause trouble with major organs in the body. 

    When it comes to AFib, drinking alcohol can:

    • make it more likely that a person experiences AFib
    • trigger AFib symptoms due to dehydration
    • cause obesity which may lead to heart problems
    • cause hypertension
    • lead to cardiomyopathy

    The effects of alcohol on the heart may be direct or indirect. Even light or moderate alcohol consumption can cause AFib risk or trigger symptoms.

    Binge Drinking & Heavy Drinking

    After a period of heavy drinking, AFib is more likely to occur. When people binge drink or indulge themselves during birthdays or holidays, they have a risk of atrial fibrillation. This is known as the “Holiday Heart Syndrome.”

    Alcohol, as well as other risk factors, may lead to AFib. Some of these include:

    • age
    • weight
    • diabetes
    • genetics
    • smoking

    To avoid AFib, it’s best to limit your alcohol intake and focus on more healthy alternatives.

    When To See A Doctor

    If you think you may have a heart rhythm disorder, you’ll likely want to contact your doctor right away. Your primary healthcare physician may recommend that you see a cardiologist. 

    The doctor can schedule an electrocardiogram (ECG) to determine if you have developed AFib. Your doctor will likely take a look at your medical history to determine treatment options.  

    AFib patients should abstain from alcohol use, including moderate drinking, as it may cause flare-ups and lead to a higher risk of developing other forms of heart disease.

    Your cardiologist may also want to schedule follow-up appointments to check your heart frequently in order to prevent any dangers. 

    If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol use, contact us today to learn about our treatment options.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS
    on August 19, 2021
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