Recent Blog Articles
Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally
Give praise to the elbow: A bending, twisting marvel
Sneezy and dopey? Seasonal allergies and your brain
The FDA relaxes restrictions on blood donation
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Swimming and skin: What to know if a child has eczema
A muscle-building obsession in boys: What to know and do
Natural disasters strike everywhere: Ways to help protect your health
Dementia: Coping with common, sometimes distressing behaviors
Screening tests may save lives — so when is it time to stop?
Rising alcohol intake linked to higher risk of atrial fibrillation
Research we're watching
- By Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
People who increase their drinking in later midlife may raise their risk of atrial fibrillation (afib), a new study finds.
The study included 43,758 people ages 50 to 64 who completed lifestyle questionnaires once in the mid-1990s and again five years later. During the median follow-up period of nearly 16 years, 5,312 people were diagnosed with afib, a heart rhythm disorder that raises the risk of stroke.
A high alcohol intake (more than 21 drinks per week) was linked to a higher risk of afib. And people who increased their drinking over the five-year period were more likely to develop afib compared with people who maintained a low (less than seven drinks per week) or moderate (14 to 20.9 drinks per week) intake. Researchers adjusted for multiple factors that could affect the results, such as smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Their findings, published Dec. 12, 2022, by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, add further support for limiting alcohol to protect cardiovascular health.
Image: © Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
You might also be interested in…
Managing Atrial Fibrillation
Managing Atrial Fibrillation will explain what atrial fibrillation is, how to know if you have it, its causes, and the treatments available. Afib can be a complex health condition, so the more you know about it, the better you will be able to work with your doctor. If afib is monitored and treated correctly, you can minimize its symptoms and help to prevent serious complications like stroke and heart damage.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!