Drinking more coffee linked to heart rhythm disease

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Scientists from Mayo Clinic found that drinking more coffee is linked to a higher risk of irregular heartbeat.

Atrial fibrillation, often called AFib or AF, is the most common type of treated heart arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way.

When a person has AFib, the normal beating in the upper chambers of the heart (the two atria) is irregular, and blood doesn’t flow as well as it should from the atria to the lower chambers of the heart (the two ventricles).

AFib may happen in brief episodes, or it may be a permanent condition.

AFib increases a person’s risk for stroke. When standard stroke risk factors were accounted for, AFib was associated with an approximately fivefold increased risk of ischemic stroke. AFib causes about 1 in 7 strokes.

Strokes caused by complications from AFib tend to be more severe than strokes with other underlying causes.

Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is blocked by a blood clot or by fatty deposits called plaque in the blood vessel lining.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the relationship between coffee drinking and the risk of atrial fibrillation.

They analyzed the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis data and divided patients into 3 groups: non-coffee-consumers, people drinking 1 to 3 cups/month, and people drinking ≥1 cup/week.

The team found people who drank ≥1 cup of coffee/per week had a higher risk of AF than non-coffee-drinkers.

Furthermore, there was an overall trend of more increased AF risk with increasing doses of coffee in the following groups: 1 to 3 cups/month, 2 to 4 cups/week, 2 to 3 cups/day, and ≥6 cups/day.

Notably, AF risk was highest (9.8%) for the people consuming the most coffee, that is, ≥6 cups/day.

The team also found the results may be driven by White and Hispanic rather than Black or Chinese-American subgroups.

In conclusion, these findings suggest an association between coffee drinking and AF risk in contrast to most previous studies.

The research was published in The American Journal of Cardiology and conducted by Ojasav Sehrawat et al.

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