Alcohol and Heart Health
The latest study to peer at the relationship between heart health and alcohol concludes that shifting drinking patterns across the years might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Alcohol has been addling minds since it was first brewed millennia ago.
Consumed in virtually every country on earth, understanding its health implications is important.
Already, scientists have tied plenty of health hazards to alcohol. Among other conditions, it increases the risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease.
Heavy drinking has conclusively been shown to harm health, but there is still discussion surrounding the fine print.
For instance, although light drinking has been shown to increase cancer risk, there is also evidence that light drinking could protect the heart.
A recent study found that people who drank one or fewer drinks per day had lower cardiovascular risk than people who drank more, as well as people who abstained completely. Could a small amount of alcohol be heart protective?
However, the increased cardiovascular risk seen in people who do not drink at all may not be what it seems. Some have made the point that individuals who do not drink now might still have been drinkers in the past.
In other words, someone who hasn’t touched a drop for months may have still been a heavy drinker for many years in the past.
Alcohol and the heart revisited
The latest study, which is published in the journal BMC Medicine, set out to clear up this query by comparing rates of coronary heart disease (CHD) in individuals who have never drunk and those who used to drink but quit.
As corresponding author Dr. Dara O’Neill, who works at University College London in the United Kingdom, says, “This study uses long-term data to distinguish between persistent non-drinkers and former drinkers, allowing us to test the established theory that only the latter have an elevated risk of CHD.”