Tags: moderate drinking lowers risk recurrent heart attack | drinking and cardiovascular disease

Drinking Can Help Heart Attack Victims Live Longer

Wednesday, 28 Mar 2012 11:10 AM

Men who have had a heart attack and continue to drink moderately, cut their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease almost in half when compared to nondrinkers. The study, which tracked U.S. male health professionals, also found that drinking lowered the risk of dying from any cause.
The findings, which were published in the European Heart Journal, found that drinking approximately two alcoholic beverages a day lowered the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 42 percent and the risk of death from any cause by 14 percent.
"Our findings clearly demonstrate that long-term moderate alcohol consumption among men who survived a heart attack was associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular mortality," said Dr. Jennifer Pai, assistant professor of medicine at Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and a research associate at Harvard School of Public Health. "We also found that among men who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol prior to a heart attack, those who continued to consume alcohol 'in moderation' afterwards also had better long-term prognosis."
Although numerous studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption lowers the risk of heart disease, scientists didn't know if drinking lowered the risk of dying among those who have established heart disease. This study is the first to measure alcohol consumption both before and after a heart attack combined with a long-term follow-up.
The study tracked 1,818 men who had survived heart attacks for up to 20 years. During that period, 468 men died. The men were questioned about their alcohol consumption as well as about other lifestyle and medical issues every four years. The men reported their consumption of beer, white and red wine, and liquor. A standard portion was a bottle or can of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, and a shot of liquor. They were then divided into four groups depending on how much they drank — 0g, 0.1-9.9g, 10-29.9g, and 30g or more a day. Those who drank between 10 and 29.9g of alcohol a day — the equivalent of approximately two drinks — were classed as "moderate" drinkers.
After taking various factors such as smoking and body mass into consideration, the researchers found that men who drank moderately — regardless of which type of alcohol they preferred — had a lower risk of dying from any cause than nondrinkers.
The men who drank the most — 30 or more grams each day — had a risk of death similar to those who drank no alcohol at all, and Dr. Pai warns that heavy drinking does carry a price.
"The adverse health effects of heavy drinking are well-known, and include high blood pressure, reduced heart function and reduced ability to break down blood clots," she said. "In addition, other studies have shown that any benefits from light drinking are entirely eliminated after episodes of binge drinking.
"Our results, showing the greatest benefit among moderate drinkers and a suggestion of excess mortality among men who consumed more than two drinks a day after a heart attack, emphasize the importance of alcohol in moderation.
"Our study was only among men, so we cannot extrapolate to women," explained Dr Pai. "However, in all other cases of alcohol and chronic disease, associations are similar except at lower quantities for women. Thus, an association is likely to be observed at 5-14.9 grams per day, or up to a drink a day for women."

© HealthDay

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Men who have had a heart attack and continue to drink moderately, cut their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease almost in half when compared to nondrinkers.
moderate drinking lowers risk recurrent heart attack,drinking and cardiovascular disease

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