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Your Body: Alcohol and Heart Health

Purestock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

Even moderate alcohol consumption can lead to atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heart rhythm, a new review of previously published studies suggests.

The definition of moderate alcohol consumption is a maximum of seven drinks per week for women and 14 per week for men. When you consider that a 5-ounce glass of wine is considered one serving, it can be very easy to reach or exceed this number.

And while moderate alcohol consumption is known to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease, we also know that alcohol is linked to a higher risk of breast and other cancers and poor sleep quality.

My prescription? This is not a one size fits all -- assess your personal risk. Moderate alcohol intake can be part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not for everybody.

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