Alcohol

Alcohol may be triggering irregular heartbeat

Adults who drink a small amount of alcohol on a regular basis could be associated with a higher risk of irregular heart rhythms, researchers have found.

Data from over 900,000 people suggests regular drinking – even at light levels – can be dangerous to the heart.  The new study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is the first solid evidence it can be triggered by even light drinking.

Researchers believe that over time alcohol interferes with the co-ordinated contraction of heart muscles triggering irregular heartbeat.  They also discovered that drink stimulates the Autonomic Nervous System which controls heart rate, digestion and respiratory rate, causing an irregular beat.

Another study released this week also highlighted that middle-aged women are drinking three times as much alcohol as they should be.  Many are counting one unit as one glass – even if it contains a third of a bottle of wine, experts claimed.  More than 25% of 2,000 British women aged between 40 and 65 years old drink between five and 16 glasses each week.  But while government guidelines state we should stick to no more than 14 units a week, many women are assuming this means 14 glasses.

Workplaces can be very effective in educating and raising awareness about the adverse effects of alcohol through their employee health and wellbeing programs. Through education and health promotion, they can help facilitate healthier behaviours throughout their employees, whilst at the same time helping minimise their costs associated with alcohol and work performance.  If you would like further information on Alcohol Awareness Workshops, please call a member of the HP Team on 0800 170 1777.