Binge drinking speeds up heartbeat, researchers find

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Binge drinking: researchers find disrupted heartbeats link to acute alcohol consumption
Binge drinking: researchers find disrupted heartbeats link to acute alcohol consumption
Drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short space of time is likely to disturb the drinker’s heartbeat, according to research conducted among more than 3,000 people.

The study examined whether acute alcohol consumption was linked with cardiac arrhythmias – a group of conditions where the heartbeat is irregular, too fast, or too slow.

Research published in the European Heart Journal​ (EHJ​) looked at the impacts of binge drinking on 3,028 volunteers throughout the 16-day Oktoberfest in Munich.

A mobile app was used to monitor the volunteers’ hearts as they drank.

First large study

The study was the first big investigation into whether drinking large amounts of alcohol is linked to immediate heart arrhythmias.

In contrast, a report in the British Medical Journal​, published in March and backed by CAMRA, found that moderate drinkers have a lower risk of heart attack​, angina and heart failure compared to teetotallers.

Raised heartbeat

The EHJ​ study, published on 25 April, concluded that while the odds of having a heart arrhythmia increased as beer consumption went up, the main immediate effect of acute alcohol consumption is sinus tachycardia – a condition where the heartbeat is raised.

Figures found sinus tachycardia in almost 30% more of the Octoberfest participants under the influence of alcohol, compared to those who abstained.

Health benefits of beer

Other recent research has claimed that a “moderate and a sensible” intake of beer is beneficial​ and can help prevent cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and kidney stones.

According to reports in The Daily Telegraph​ and the Independent ​last year, beer can also decrease the risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s and help build strong bones.

Related topics: Beer

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