Page last updated: November 8, 2010
Women drinking moderately have reduced risk of sudden cardiac death


Research conducted at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston suggests that the risk of sudden cardiac death declines by 36% when women drink one-half to one alcoholic beverages a day. However, when women have more than 30g of alcohol a day, they may increase their risk of sudden cardiac death by about 15%.
The study assessed 85,067 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, who described their alcohol intake every four years. Those women who daily drank between 5 grams and 14.9 grams of alcohol were seen at the lowest risk of sudden cardiac death. While, those women who were former drinkers saw a 21% reduced risk of sudden cardiac death compared to teetotalers.
Women who drank 0.1 to 4.9 grams of alcohol daily had a 23% reduced risk of sudden cardiac death compared to lifetime abstainers, while those who has 5 to 14.9 grams of alcohol each day reduced their sudden cardiac death risk by 36%. Women who had 15 to 29.9 grams of daily alcohol had a 32% reduced risk of sudden cardiac death.
However, women with daily alcohol intake above 30 grams, or two US drinks of 14g, the risk of sudden cardiac death increased by 15% over the teetotalers.
“In this study, we wanted to look at the association of moderate alcohol intake and the risk of sudden cardiac death in women. We found a U-shaped association between alcohol and sudden cardiac death,” said researchers, so too little or too much alcohol intake was associated with a higher risk of sudden cardiac death than moderate intake of alcohol.

Source: Alcohol consumption and the risk of sudden cardiac death in women: an evaluation from the Nurses’ Health Study. Vest RN 3rd, Gold MR. Heart Rhythm. 2010 Oct;7(10):1374-80.
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