Health Magazine

Alcohol and Your Heart

By Texicanwife @texicanwife
Alcohol Consumption and Your Heart... Good or Bad?
Alcohol Consumption

A Recent Study Reports The Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption Is More Complicated Than Most People Believe...
A comprehensive review and meta-analysis conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) about the relationship between alcohol consumption and heart disease provides important insight into the belief that drinking a glass of red wine a day can help protect against heart disease.
"It's complicated," according to Dr. Juergen Rehm, the director of social and epidemiological research
at CAMH. Dr. Rehm's report was co-authored by Michael Roerecke and has been recently published in the journal Addiction.
"While a cardio-protective association between alcohol use and ischaemic heart disease exists, it cannot be assumed for all drinkers, even at low levels of intake," cautions the researchers.
Symptoms of Ischaemic heart disease include angina, heart pain, and heart failure; It is a common cause of illness and death in the Western world.
Based on 44 studies, the in depth analyses looked
at 38,627 ischaemic heart disease events (including cardio-related deaths) among 957,684 people.
"We see substantial variation across studies; In particular for an average consumption of one to two drinks a day," explained Dr. Rehm. The protective association of alcohol may vary by male or female, drinking patterns, and the specific health effects considered. Differential risk levels were found by gender, demonstrating higher risk for morbidity and mortality in women.
For any person, it is important to understand the relationship between alcohol consumption and ischemic heart disease should not be isolated from other disease outcomes. Even at low levels, alcohol intake can have a seriously detrimental effect on many other disease outcomes, particularly on several types of cancer.
For example, only one drink a day increases risk of breast cancer. "However, with as little as one drink a day, the net effect on mortality is still beneficial. After this, the net risk increases with every drink." said the researchers.
It is crucial to define how much alcohol is being consumed... "If someone binge drinks even once a month, any health benefits from light to moderate drinking disappear." Binge drinking is defined as having more than four alcholic drinks on one occasion for women, and more than five drinks for men.
Given the complex, potentially beneficial or detrimental effects of alcohol on ischaemic heart disease in addition to the detrimental effects on other disease categories, any advice by physicians on individual drinking has to take the individual risk factors into consideration (including familial/genetic predisposition for certain diseases and behavior with respect to any other risk factors.)
The study concludes "More evidence on the overall benefit-risk ratio of average alcohol consumption in relation to ischaemic heart disease and other diseases is needed in order to inform the general public or physicians about safe or low-risk drinking levels,"
"Findings from this study support current low-risk drinking guidelines, if these recognize lower drinking limits for women."
Story Source:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health "Alcohol and your heart: Friend or foe?"
Journal Reference:
Michael Roerecke, Jürgen Rehm.
"The cardioprotective association of average
alcohol consumption and ischaemic heart disease:
a systematic review and meta-analysis. Addiction, 2012;
This article is for informational and educational purposes only; It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or
healthcare professional.

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