One small drink of alcohol a day may still be harmful to the heart, a new study has found. A recent research study published in the European Heart Journal had studied the health records of 1,08,000 individuals of age 24-97 years from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Italy for 14 years. The analysis showed that people who consumed as little as 12 g of ethanol (which is 120 ml wine. 330 ml beer or 40 ml of spirits) had a 16 per cent increased risk of developing irregular heartbeat than those who do not consume alcohol.
Earlier scientific studies have shown that excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of heart failure and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat causing palpitations, shortness of breath and fatigue). A moderate consumption, on the other hand, reduces the risk of heart failure but the risk of irregular heartbeat remains the same. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke. The study has also observed that the risk of atrial fibrillation increases with the number of drinks.