Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease: Moderate Drinking is Protective

Large Study of Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease

Researchers investigated alcohol and cardiovascular disease. They studied 1,937,360 adults aged 30 or older. All were free of cardiovascular disease. And all were from from the CALIBER (Cardiovascular research using Linked bespoke studies and electronic health records) Program.

The investigators categorized individuals as non drinkers, former drinkers, occasional drinkers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers.

They measured 12 common symptomatic manifestations of cardiovascular disease. They were these.

alcohol and cardiovascular disease

Acute Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

  1. Abdominal aortic aneurysm.
  2. Acute myocardial infarction.
  3. Chronic stable angina.
  4. Heart disease death.
  5. Heart failure.
  6. Intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage.
  7. Ischaemic stroke.
  8. Peripheral arterial disease.
  9. Sudden coronary death/cardiac arrest.
  10. Transient ischaemic attack.
  11. Unheralded coronary heart disease death.
  12. Unstable angina.

By time of the follow-up, 114,859 individuals had developed a cardiovascular diagnosis. Scientists found the classic J-shaped curve for cardiovascular disease (all and fatal) and for all cause mortality. That is, moderate drinkers had lower risk than non-drinkers, former drinkers, or heavy drinkers.


Bell, S., et al. Association between clinically recorded alcohol consumption and initial presentation of 12 cardiovascular diseases. Population based cohort study using linked health records. BMJ, 2017, A, j909.

Signs of a Heart Attack

Heart attacks can be sudden and intense. However, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Most involve discomfort in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes. It may disappear and then return.

The American Heart Association  has identified a number of common heart attack symptoms. They include these

  • Discomfort in the chest.
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Pain in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Discomfort in shoulder or arm (one or both arms).
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat.
  • Shortness of breath.

If in doubt, call 911. Better safe than sorry dead.

Popular Resources on Heart Disease

Fuhrman, J. and Pruden, J. The End of Heart Disease. The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent Heart Disease. NY: Harper, 2016.

ND Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program. Are You at Risk of a Heart Attack? Bismarck: The Program, 2016.

____________. Common Warning Signs of a Heart Attack. Bismarck: The Program, 2016.

Purcell, J., et al. Heart Attack, What’s Ahead? A Guide for Heart Attack Survivors and Those Who Love Them. Atlanta: Pritchett & Hull, 2012.

Turner, G., et al. Recognizing and Surviving Heart Attacks and Strokes. Lifesaving Advice You Need Now. Columbia: U of Missouri Press, 2008.


Note: This website makes no suggestions about alcohol and cardiovascular disease. Consult a doctor for medical advice.