A new study determined that binge drinking has quite an immediate effect on the heart. It can either make it beat faster, slower, or irregularly by basically inducing arrhythmia.
This new research comes from a team of German scientists. They released their results in a paper in the European Heart Journal. Research was based on data gathered during the Oktoberfest. This is an annual festival which takes place in fall and is celebrated with rivers of beer. The team jokingly admitted that the study idea itself came as they “were sitting over a beer or two”.
Their aim was to study the relevance of alcohol intake levels on the heart rate. As they decided to carry on with their idea, they got the necessary permits and headed for the festival. While there, they collected data from over 3,000 people. The information was gathered over the 16-day Oktoberfest with ECG instruments and smartphone-based breathalyzer tests.
As it is, the team excluded severely intoxicated individuals. They seemed unable to give their consent for the tests. Surprisingly so, the selected study volunteers were reportedly very interested in participating.
Binge Drinking And Its Immediate Effects On the Heart
Health specialists have long since been aware of the fact that alcohol, especially in large amounts, can affect the heart. But the study team set out to determine if it can also affect the heart rhythm. The researchers were especially keen on studying the holiday heart syndrome. During such periods, binge drinking was seen to cause atrial fibrillation, even dangerous one.
Current study results found a “profound association of acute alcohol consumption with sinus tachycardia or an increased heart rate with no justification”.
Generally, the heart rate varies according to the changes in the breathing rate. But the higher the alcoholic consumption, the lower this ability. This is another study result. Research data showed that people who consumed high amounts of alcohol were quite likely to exhibit both these results.
As it is, the team considers that more studies on the matter are still needed. These could further analyze the connection between alcohol, arrhythmia, and the symptoms in general.
The team will also look for the longer term effects of binge drinking on the heart rhythm. Their current study only offered very short term results. As such, they will set out on a follow-up study. Based on ECG monitors, this will monitor the heart rate over a three days period.
Dr. Moritz Sinner, who was part of the study said that:
“The more you drink, the more prominent the findings are. So it’s probably not a problem if you drink a beer or two. But if you exaggerate it, it’s certainly not healthy anymore.”
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