Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease: Moderation is Protective

Are alcohol and cardiovascular disease (CVD) linked? And if so, how?

Large Study of Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease

Researchers studied alcohol and cardiovascular disease. To do so, they looked at 1,937,360 adults aged 30 or older. All were free of CVD. And all were from from the CALIBER Program. That’s the cardiovascular research using linked bespoke studies and electronic health records. CALIBER is much easier to say.

The researchers grouped people as non-drinkers, former drinkers, occasional drinkers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers.

They measured 12 common signs of CVD. 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 or cardiac arrest.
    10. Transient ischaemic attack.
    11. Unheralded coronary heart disease death.
    12. Unstable angina.


By time of the follow-up, 114,859 people had developed a CVD. Researchers found a J-shaped curve for CVD.  That is, moderate drinkers had lower risk than non-drinkers or former drinkers. But heavy drinkers had a higher risk than any other group. Hence, the J shape. That was true for both all CVD and CVD that led to death. And it was also true for any and all causes of death.

Signs of Stroke

Common signs of stroke are easy to remember using “FAST.”

F    Face drooping. One side of the face droops or      is numb.

A    One  arm is weak or numb.

S    Speech is impaired or difficult.

T   Time to call 911.

If in doubt, always call 911. With stroke, prompt treatment is essential.

Signs of Heart Attack

Heart attacks can be sudden and intense. But 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 signs. 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.

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    • This site gives no advice. Please see your doctor about alcohol and cardiovascular disease.