In his article published in June in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, states that ‘Alcohol consumption is widespread and, in excess, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. At the same time, a consistent body of observational evidence has found that individuals who consume alcohol within recommended limits have a lower risk of coronary heart disease than do abstainers’.
Source: A 42-Year-Old Man Considering Whether to Drink Alcohol for His Health Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, JAMA. 2010;303(20):2065-2073 http://jama.ama-assn.org/
Mukamal statest that these observations have led many to consider small amounts of alcohol as a cardioprotective strategy. He puts forward a theoretical case for discussion and exploration: Mr Q, a 42-year-old man who has consistently sought ways to preserve his health, is at a crossroads in his discussions with his physicians about the health effects of his regular, limited alcohol intake.
The discussion reviews the epidemiology of drinking in the United States, the established effects of moderate alcohol intake on key pathophysiological biomarkers and pathways, the strengths and limitations of observational evidence linking alcohol intake to lower risk of coronary heart disease, other chronic diseases linked to moderate alcohol intake, and a framework in which MrQ can discuss the potential risks and benefits of alcohol consumption with his physicians.