A new study reports that people who drink in moderation appear less likely to develop blockages in the arteries that supply blood to their legs. This is consistent with research finding that moderate alcohol consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers at Erasmus University in Rotterdam in The Netherlands studied almost 4,000 people at least 55 years of age. Women and non-smoking men who consumed one or two drinks a day were less likely than abstainers to have peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

The strongest impact was found in non-smoking women who consumed at least two drinks (beer, wine or spirits) per day. they were 59% less likely to suffer PAD than their abstainer counterparts.

PAD occurs when arteries in the legs become blocked with fatty material, a process called atherosclerosis. The condition of atherosclerosis also causes strokes and heart attacks.

The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.


  • Vliegenthart, R., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of peripheral arterial disease: the Rotterdam study. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2002, 155(4), 332-338.

Filed Under: Health