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Healthy men who drink moderate amounts of alcohol may have a lower risk of suffering a heart attack than those who drink heavily or do not drink at all, according to a study in the October 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Kenneth J. Mukamal, M.D., M.P.H. and colleagues at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center conducted a study to assess the relationship between alcohol consumption and heart attack.

The methodology: The authors followed 8,867 healthy men as part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study which began in 1986. Participants included dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians and other health care professionals age 40 to 75.

At regular intervals during the study, the participants completed questionnaires about their diets and general health, including the frequency of particular foods and the types of alcohol consumed. All of the men had healthy lifestyles, defined as not smoking, having a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day and having a diet consisting largely of fruits, vegetables, fish and polyunsaturated fats.

Findings: Between 1986 and 2002, 106 of the participants had heart attacks. An analysis of the survey results indicated men drinking 15 to 29 grams of alcohol per day (approximately 2 drinks) had the lowest risk for heart attack while non-drinkers had the highest risk. The researchers estimated that 25 percent of myocardial infarction episodes in participants was correlated to consuming less than 5 grams of alcohol per day.

Implications: Implications of the study suggest that identifying risks and benefits of moderate drinking is complicated but it may complement other lifestyle interventions in certain individuals.

Sources

Archives of Internal Medicine Press Release

Archives of Internal Medicine

About the Author

Jeanne Bohm, Ph.D. is a cancer biologist by training, a medical writer and an experienced science educator.

The author has no financial relationship to any of the companies listed in the article.

 

Topics #alcohol #heart attack #MI