A recent Stockholm study assessed the association of alcohol intake with progression of coronary atherosclerosis. Although moderate drinkers have a lower risk of coronary heart disease than abstainers, the relation of alcohol use and coronary atherosclerosis has not been well studied.
Individual alcoholic beverage consumption was assessed by a standardised questionnaire. The authors used mixed model analysis to estimate the effect of alcohol consumption on progression of coronary atherosclerosis, as measured by mean luminal diameter change, controlling for age, smoking,body-mass index, education, physical activity, index cardiac event, menopausal status, diabetes, and history of dyslipidemia.
Most of the women were light drinkers: all reporting more than 5 g/day (a typical drink is 10-15 g) were grouped in the highest category, with an average in this group of 8 g/day.
The authors conclude that among middle-aged women with coronary heart disease, moderate alcohol consumption (over 5 g/day) was protective of coronary atherosclerosis progression in patients who already have evidence of severe coronary artery disease
Source: Alcohol consumption and coronary atherosclerosis progression - the Stockholm Female Coronary Risk Angiographic Study. Janszky I et al. Atherosclerosis 2004;176:311-319