Study: One drink of alcohol a day is worse than binge drinking

If you drink even a moderate amount of booze every day you're more likely to develop heart problems than someone who binge drinks, according to a new study.

Researchers in Korea found a link between frequently drinking even small amounts of alcohol with a higher risk of atrial fibrillation. And the link is even stronger than with binge drinking, the study showed.

Atrial fibrillation is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat, according to MedlinePlus. It can cause chest pain, heart attack, and heart failure, and increase the risk of stroke.

"Recommendations about alcohol consumption have focused on reducing the absolute amount rather than the frequency," Jong-Il Choi, an author of the study, said. "Our study suggests that drinking less often may also be important to protect against atrial fibrillation."

The study looked at health data gathered from more than 9.7 million people between 2009 and 2017. Researchers found that people who drank every day were about 41% more likely to develop atrial fibrillation than people who drank twice a week.

"Atrial fibrillation is a disease with multiple dreadful complications and significantly impaired quality of life," Choi said. "Alcohol consumption is probably the most easily modifiable risk factor. To prevent new-onset atrial fibrillation, both the frequency and weekly amount of alcohol consumption should be reduced."

The study appears in  EP Europace, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.