Page last updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2005
US survey shows moderate drinkers have lower risk of chronic ailments
New data drawn from 43,000 Americans finds moderate drinkers have a reduced risk for a number of 'physical disorders' when compared to abstainers. Drawing on data from The National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiological Survey (NLAES), researchers S.Patricia Chou, Ph.D., and colleagues from The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) report that moderate drinkers had lower twelve month prevalence rates for a range of disorders including digestive problems, respiratory and circulatory diseases as well as athritis. Writing in the journal, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the scientists state that the drinkers exhibited significantly lower morbidity rates with respect to coronary heart disease and hypertension. Compared to abstainers, drinkers also had reduced rates for respiratory diseases, emphysema, coronary heart disease and diseases of the stomach, liver, pancreas, as well as diabetes, epilepsy and high cholesterol.

Conversely, according to a 1996 report from the same group, abstainers generally had higher prevalence rates of various medical conditions than did light to moderate drinkers. The rates of stomach disease, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular accident and hypertension among abstainers were substantially higher than those among light and moderate drinkers."

The earlier report and this new study warn that heavy alcohol intake can pose serious health concerns, and the results on benefits of drinking must be interpreted with caution.

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