From 2.7 to 6.1 million people in the U.S. are living with AFib – a highly prevalent heart-rhythm disorder. The problem is that not many patients fully understand the connection between AFib and alcohol.
They either drink too much or don’t control their intake very often that ends up worsening their AFib symptoms.
Doctors usually prescribe meds to ease or prevent the condition. They recommend various food swaps, like less fat and salt and more veggies and fruits. But, there are bigger triggers to AFib symptoms, and one of them is alcohol.
Here, we will take a closer look at the correlation between alcohol consumption and AFib. We will talk about whether alcohol is safe for patients with this condition, what kind of impact it has on the human body, and how to find the right balance.
How Are AFib and Alcohol Connected?
According to Harvard Health, alcohol is a well-known risk for AFib. This heart condition forces the organ to beat faster and irregularly.
Records show that individuals who binge drink too often have a higher chance of developing AFib than someone who doesn’t drink at all.
However, for patients who already have AFib, paying attention to the alcohol intake becomes a necessity.
Based on NCBI reports, alcohol consumption can drastically elevate blood pressure and result in weight gain. Both of these problems are associated with AFib.
Take alcohol-induced AFib, for example. Consuming a lot of alcohol, whether it is wine or beer can trigger the symptoms of the condition. The heartbeat will get quicker; patients might experience chest pain and pressure, and even faint.
Since these drinks are packed with healthy antioxidants, many people fail to recognize the connection between beer and AFib. They don’t see these beverages as a potential threat. But, the moment you start drinking too much, these rhythm irregularities will become even more impactful.
The same thing applies to atrial fibrillation and red wine.
The antioxidants in the wine are incredibly beneficial for the body. But, if an AFib patient recently had a heart operation, they have a higher chance of experiencing cardiovascular problems after drinking a little bit of this beverage.
Is There a Safe Way to Consume Alcohol with AFib?
Consuming too much alcohol can trigger AFib, but abruptly cutting back on drinking might have an even bigger impact, advises the American College of Cardiology.
People who have a habit of drinking regularly will find it difficult to suddenly stop consuming. To quench their need, they might end up consuming more than they planned for. Therefore, it is best to consume alcohol in moderation.
Here are the suggested guidelines.
- For women: less than seven drinks a week.
- For men: less than 14 drinks a week.
This way, patients get to control their symptoms and avoid triggers. But, for ultimate results for anyone with the condition, it is best to slowly cut back on alcohol and eventually stop consuming it completely.
According to the American Heart Association, if you don’t drink and have AFib, you shouldn’t start drinking at all. Otherwise, you risk triggering the symptoms.
How to Treat AFib Symptoms After Drinking Alcohol?
Getting the right alcohol-induced AFib treatment is crucial for managing the health problem. When the heart is beating out of sync, it throws the entire system out of balance. If you start to feel pain in the chest, you need to call an ambulance right away. The symptoms might be a sign of a heart attack.
In less severe cases, there are other ways you can manage alcohol-induced AFib. You can:
- Try mindful deep breathing – this is an excellent strategy to calm and soothe the nerves when the heart feels out of sync.
- Wash your face with cold water – the cold will stimulate the vagus nerve and force the body to respond to the quickened heart rate.
- Drink plenty of water – too much alcohol can dehydrate the system and cause dizziness. To control the symptoms staying hydrated should be a top priority.
Once the episode passes successfully, contact your physician to update them on what you experienced. They will do some tests that can help you better control your health problem. If the condition appears more often, you might have to get a different treatment.
Other Useful Tips for Keeping the Balance With AFib
If you are interested in including alcohol as part of your diet, here are a few tips you should have in mind.
- Have alcohol-free days.
- Regularly monitor your heart condition.
- Include more minerals and healthy fluids in your diet.
- Watch the alcohol intake.
- Get plenty of sleep.
Living with AFib may not be the “walk in the park” you are hoping for. But, with the right balancing tactics, you can control the symptoms and still drink alcohol from time to time. The key is moderation. However, if you can skip the drinking, it is best to drop it off your diet completely.