Researchers wanted to know if there is a link between drinking alcohol and blood vessel function or health.
The endothelium is the thin interior surface of small blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction (ETD) is when it fails to perform all of its important functions normally. As a result, several bad things can happen to the tissues supplied by those arteries. For example, ETD is a risk factor for heart and vessel diseases. That includes heart attacks and clogged arteries.
III. Risk Factors
I. Study of Alcohol and Blood Vessel Function
Researchers looked at the effects of drinking alcohol on ED. Their study was cross sectional and population-based. They measured ED by means of flow-mediated dilation (FMD).
Moderate drinkers were those having up to two drinks per day. It could be beer, wine, or spirits (liquor). Such drinkers had much higher (better) FMD scores than did alcohol abstainers.
But could other things be causing the link? To see, the investigators adjusted for such things as gender, race, body mass index (BMI), coronary artery disease, and others. Yet the relationship continued. That is, moderate drinkers had much better FMD scores than abstainers.
Reducing ETD may be yet another reason that moderate drinking contributes to better health and longer life.
- Chest pain (angina) that gets worse during physical activity or emotional stress.
- Shortness of breath.
- Angina that gets worse during menstrual periods.
III. Risk Factors
A risk factor is anything that increases the chance of ETD. Some we can change. Others we can’t. Risk factors include these.
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High blood pressure
- High LDL
IV. Resources: Alcohol and Blood Vessel Function
- Suzuki, K., et al. Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better endothelial function. BMC Cardi. Discord., 2009, 9, 8.
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