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Restraining drinking habit can lower risk of atrial fibrillation, finds study
Posted in Addiction

The relationship between drinking habit and risk of suffering from atrial fibrillation (AF) has long been a point of study for scientists. Now, a group of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, has found how prolonged abstention from drinking can help lower the risk of atrial fibrillation. The researchers in their study, published online in the journal PLOS ONE in October 2017, found that every 10 years of sobriety from alcohol were linked to roughly 20 percent reduced chances of being affected with AF, irrespective of the type of alcohol – beer, wine or liquor – consumed.

Commenting on the rationale behind carrying out the research, senior author of the study Dr. Gregory Marcus said, “For a disease that affects millions and is one of the most important causes of stroke, identifying modifiable risk factors is especially important. Future research may help identify patients particularly prone to alcohol-related AF, and, when done, targeted counseling to those patients may be especially effective.”

The authors of the study examined the details collected over 25 years through the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. The data was gathered pursuant to the need to pinpoint at risk factors for atherosclerosis and heart diseases. The ARIC research involved examination of 15,792 adults aged 45-64 years from 1987 to 1989 in Forsyth County, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; Minneapolis suburbs and Washington County, Maryland.

The researchers assessed the details of 15,222 ARIC respondents who were inquired about their current drinking habit and their tendencies of drinking in the past. To the respondents who had moved beyond drinking habit, the participants were asked about the number of years prior to complete cessation of drinking habit, the number of years they had been drinking and the kinds of alcoholic beverages consumed before striving for complete sobriety.

Finding link between AF and drinking

Detailed investigation revealed 1,631 instances of AF, of which 370 had developed in former drinkers. It was clear that people with past history of drinking had a higher possible chance of being affected with AF disorder. The respondents who showed no signs of AF initially had consumed for limited periods of time and taken less alcohol in the past. In addition, the former drinkers were more likely to hail from poor educational background when compared with current drinkers or those who had never taken alcohol in their lives.

Adjustments of various variable factors revealed each added decade in which the respondents had taken alcohol in the past was linked to 13 percent more risk of being affected with AF, while every additional drink each day during earlier drinking was linked to a 4 percent higher rate. However, the type of alcohol consumed in the past or present showed no links with AF.

Prevalence of AF in US is a cause of concern

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 2.7-6.1 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation. The CDC also reports how the number of people with AF in the U.S. is expected to rise with the growing pervasiveness of the aging population. Growing number of AF cases has made it imperative for health care advocates, physicians and community service providers to inform people about this problem and the risk factors associated with it.

Saying “no” to alcohol helps in warding off many problems, including those of addiction and mental health ailments. Sovereign Health of Texas understands the plight of someone suffering from addiction to any kind of harmful substance, including alcohol. Experts at our alcohol rehab centers provide evidence-based treatment to patients in accordance with their needs. Contact our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives to learn more about our alcohol treatment centers in Texas.

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