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
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
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.