Many past studies have confirmed binge drinking can result in an irregular heartbeat or a heart "flutter," but a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has linked moderate, habitual drinking with the same result.

This finding is surprising because some research has shown drinking alcohol can be good for certain people's health, Medical Daily previously reported, and moderate intake has been suggested to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Researchers studied nearly 900,000 people for 12 years. The findings showed a reported 8 percent increase in the risk of irregular heartbeat for every alcoholic drink consumed per day. Both men and women were equally affected, Medical XPress reported.

Read: Women Now Drink Nearly As Much Alcohol As Men, With Dangerous Effects On Female Health And Safety

Drinking alcohol impacts the body’s cells and movement of electrical signals between them, as well as the body’s autonomic nervous system — which controls functions like heart rate, digestion and respiratory rate.

"There has been a lot of attention in recent years about the benefits of drinking small amounts of alcohol for the heart," said the study's lead author, Professor Peter Kistler, according to Medical XPress. "The results are significant, since chances are, there are people who are consuming one to two glasses of alcohol per day that may not realize they are putting themselves at risk for irregular heartbeat."

Irregular heartbeat is also known as atrial fibrillation and is a leading cause of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

Source: Voskoboinik A, Prabhu S, Ling L, Kalman JM, Kistler PM. Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation
Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2016.

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