Page last updated: Friday, June 3, 2005
In light drinkers, a moderate increase in Consumption may lower the risk of CVD
A casual link between light-to-moderate drinking and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been shown by many studies. Alcohol increases HDL-cholesterol levels and reduces the likelihood of thrombosis. Therefore, changes in alcohol consumption may have an impact on an individuals CVD risk. Few studies have examined whether changes in drinking level influences future CVD risk. The aim of this study by Sesso HD, Stampfer MJ et al was to examine whether 7-year changes in alcohol use are associated with subsequent CVD risk.

22,071 male subjects from the Physicians Health study were analysed and 18,455 chosen after exclusion of participants because of missing data on alcohol use or the prior development of CVD or cancer. A 7-year questionnaires gathered data on alcohol consumption.There were 1091 CVD cases, including myocardial infarction, angina pectoris and stroke.Among men initially taking 1 drink/week or less ( 7360), those with moderate increases in alcohol use (up to 6 drinks/week) had a 29% reduction risk of CVD compared with men with no changes (-1 to +1 drink/weekly) Among men initially consuming 1 -6 drinks/weekly (6612), those with moderate increases had a 15% decrease in CVD risk compared to men with no changes.The data suggests, that among men with initially low drinking levels a subsequent moderate increase in drinking levels may lower their risk of CVD. With men with higher initial drinking levels this possible reduction in CVD risk appears not to be extended. Physician counselling of patients must be individualised in the context of primary prevention of CVD.

Source.Sesso HD, Stampfer MJ et al Seven-year changes in alcohol consumption and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease in men. Archives of Intern Med 160 (2001) 2605 - 2612.

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