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Tony Williams asked...

I am currently in sinus rhythm having had Atrial Fibrillation/Flutter.

Tags: alcohol , heart

I am currently in sinus rhythm having had Atrial Fibrillation/Flutter, on and off over the last 12 years.

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The answer

Although atrial fibrillation is the most common kind of cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), there are several arrhythmias which can cause palpitations. Drinking more than about 3 alcoholic drinks a day has been found to be associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation (AF) and can increase the risk of other arrhythmias. I’m not aware of any clear, short term association between atrial fibrillation and eating spicy food, but many patients do complain of palpitations after spicy food or large amounts of caffeine. You can certainly get more occasional irregular beats against a background of a normal heart rhythm (these are called ‘ectopic beats’ and are usually nothing to worry about) after spicy food or alcohol.

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