Too Much Alcohol and Cabin Pressure Could Be a Bad Combo for Your Heart, New Study Finds

Researchers say alcohol and cabin pressure at cruising altitude may be bad for the heart, causing a significant drop in blood oxygen and a jump in heart rate.

You may want to pass on those cocktails the next time you fly, especially if you’re on a long-haul flight.

A new study finds the combination of alcohol and cabin pressure could be bad for your heart.

The study included 48 people between the ages of 18 and 40. Half were assigned to sleep in a lab under normal, sea level conditions. The others were asked to sleep in a special chamber that mimicked cabin pressure at cruising altitude.

Some of the participants in each group were also given pure vodka before heading to bed… the equivalent of about 2 glasses of beer or wine.

The researchers say drinkers in the altitude chamber experienced a concerning drop in blood oxygen… to an average level of about 85%. That’s significantly lower than the non-drinkers in the chamber, as well as all of those in the sleep lab.

Drinkers at “cruising altitude” also had the highest heart rate… with an average of 88 beats per minute.

The negative effects lasted more than 3 hours and were strongest among older participants and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

The authors say these findings suggest it may be time to consider restricting on-board access to alcohol on long-haul flights.

Source: Thorax

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