A drink a day may not keep your heart problems away.
A new study published by The American Heart Association finds that long-term alcohol use – even as little as a glass of wine a day – could enlarge your heart's left upper chamber and increase the risk of developing atrial fibrillation.
The condition increases the risk for stroke and blood clots.
Researchers analyzed data on 5,220 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, an ongoing national research project in the United States.
"We have known for a number of years that alcohol can be a toxin to the heart. There's also information that suggests, that in small amounts, alcohol may be beneficial," said Dr. Kevin Wheelan, chief of cardiology at Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital in Dallas.
Wheelan says the study points to a signal that increasing amounts of alcohol do have negative consequences and, "we need further information."
"If individuals have an occiasional glass of wine, a beer or a mixed drink with dinner after work, there's probably a lot of benefit and enjoyment in that, but you need to moderate and try to limit it to that single consumption," Wheelan said.
Rick Lafitte, of Dallas, has undergone two procedures to control his atrial fibrillation.
"I've heard discussions on a glass or two a night is supposed to help, so I figured, I'm drinking it anyways, if it helps my heart, great!" Lafitte said.