Shwetha Bhatia

Effects of Binge Drinking

February, 2018
The Master Responds

Holiday season might be technically over but the reliance of alcohol as a stress buster on the weekend is ongoing. Thus, the phenomenon of drinking too much too fast, termed binge drinking, with no gender bias.

Although there is no standard definition of binge drinking, the most widely used definition is the consumption of five or more drinks on a single occasion or day, or sometimes modified to 5 drinks for men and 4 drinks for women in about 2 hours.

Effects on the heart:

Holiday heart syndrome is an irregular heartbeat pattern presented in individuals who are otherwise healthy.

The term is defined as "abnormal heart rhythms sometimes following excessive alcohol consumption; usually temporary".

Holiday heart syndrome can be the result of stress, dehydration, and drinking alcohol. It is sometimes associated with binge drinking common during the holiday season and thus the name. The condition can also occur when individuals consume only moderate amounts of alcohol.

While nobody should binge drink, people with a history of atrial fibrillation should be especially vigilant; avoid or limit alcohol intake.

Mechanisms responsible for irregular heart beats may include direct toxicity and alcohol's contribution to obesity, sleep-disordered breathing, and hypertension.

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