Moderate alcohol consumption in middle age can lower cardiac risk

Mar 07, 2008

Previous studies have pointed out the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption as a factor in lowering cardiovascular risk. In a study conducted by the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina and published in the March 2008 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, researchers found that middle-aged non-drinkers who began consuming moderate amounts of alcohol saw an immediate benefit of lower cardiac disease morbidity with no change in mortality after four years.

Studying 7,697 people between 45 and 64 who were non-drinkers and who were participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study over a 10 year period, the authors found that 6% began moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink per day or fewer for women and 2 drinks per day or fewer for men) during the follow-up period. After 4 years of follow-up, new moderate drinkers had a 38% lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease than did their non-drinking counterparts. Even after adjusting for physical activity, Body Mass Index, demographic and cardiac risk factors, this difference persisted.

The study also identified a subset of new drinkers who consumed only wine. When comparing non-drinkers to wine-only drinkers, drinkers of other types of alcohol, and heavy drinkers, the wine-only drinkers had the most significant reduction in cardiovascular events. Drinkers of other types of alcohol also had an advantage over non-drinkers, but the difference did not reach statistical significance.

Writing in the article, Dana E. King, MD, MS, states, “A substantial cardiovascular benefit from adopting moderate alcohol drinking in middle age appears supported by the current study. Any such benefit must be weighed with caution against the known ill consequences of alcohol consumption.

While caution is clearly warranted, the current study demonstrated that new moderate drinking lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease without an increase in mortality in a four-year follow up period. The findings suggest that, for carefully selected individuals, a ‘heart healthy diet’ may include limited alcohol consumption even among individuals who have not included alcohol previously.”

Source: Elsevier

Explore further: Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Alcohol consumption may increase amphetamine abuse

Dec 14, 2010

Stimulant drugs, which can increase energy and concentration, are widely abused by young adults. One such drug are amphetamines, which in addition to being widely accessible, has been shown in previous studies to have a significant ...

Recommended for you

Blending faith and science to combat obesity

6 minutes ago

Science and religion may seem like uneasy partners at times, but when it comes to promoting healthy lifestyles, one UConn Health researcher has shown they can be an effective combination.

Research project puts stroke patients back on their feet

13 minutes ago

Finding the will to exercise routinely can be challenging enough for most people, but a stroke presents even more obstacles. Yet aerobic exercise may be crucial for recovery and reducing the risk of another ...

Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites

3 hours ago

Research suggesting air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well over recommended levels in the US is published today in the open access journal Environmental Health. High levels of benzene, hydrog ...

FDA cautions against 'undeclared' food allergens

15 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Some food labels may not reliably list all possible food allergens, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency added that these "undeclared allergens" are the leading cause ...

Polls show deep partisan divide over Affordable Care Act

15 hours ago

A comprehensive analysis of data from 27 public opinion polls conducted by 14 organizations, including a poll in September of those most likely to vote, shows an electorate polarized by political party when it comes to the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.