Moderate drinking and heart health

Moderate drinking and heart health

Reported November 23, 2009

Yet another study has shown that long-term moderate drinking of alcohol may decrease the risk of heart disease in men by up to one-third. It also decreases the risk — less often — in women.

Many of my friends are interested in such studies and it may be a topic of conversation at upcoming parties and get-togethers.

The news was published over the weekend in Heart, the Journal of the British Cardiovascular Society. The study was done in Spain and used 10-year data on 15,500 men and nearly 26,000 women who were participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer study. It came my way via an e-mail from Dr. Raymond Scalettar, the medical chairman of the Distilled Spirits Council, Washington, D.C., and former chair of the American Medical Association.

Researchers did not find differences in the type of alcohol consumed: Beer, wine or spirits. In men, there was a point when the coronary benefits of alcohol declined and risks started to rise again.

The rate of heart disease in non-drinking women was 56 for each 100,000 individuals. For those who are light drinkers, it was 42; moderate drinkers, 36, and high or heavy drinkers, 12. Researchers said the results for women were not statistically significant, probably because the numbers were too small in many categories.

In men, the rate for non-drinkers was 398 per 100,000; it was 318 for light drinkers, 255 for moderate drinkers, 278 for high drinkers and 334 for heavy drinkers.

An American researcher, Eric Rimm, associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, said this is one of 60-70 studies done around the world with the same basic results.

The American Heart Association guideline is that it is okay to drink, if it’s done in moderation. That’s 1-2 drinks a day for men, and one drink a day for women.

A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.

Source : The Quad-City Times