Interested in the topic of drinking alcohol and heart health? You’ve come to the right place. Here you can read facts on the subject. You can also find other resources.
Beer, wine and distilled spirits (liquor) appear to have the same health and long life benefits.
The benefits come basically from the alcohol itself. And standard drinks of have the same amount of pure alcohol. It’s six-tenths of one ounce each.
So a drink is a drink. And drinking two beers is the same as having two shots of whiskey. At least as far as alcohol. A breath tester can’t tell them apart.
I. Abstainers Who Begin to Drink Benefit
Middle-aged non-drinkers who began drinking in moderation have a 38% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). That’s compared to those who continue abstaining.
This is very important. That’s because it shows that was drinking rather than other factors that improves health and long life.
II. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Drinking beer and wine in moderation was linked with a much lower risk of developing a dangerous abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Read more at Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm and Drinking.
III. Aortic Valve Sclerosis
Researchers found that light to moderate drinking was linked with a lower risk of aortic valve sclerosis. But heavy drinking increased that risk.
Discover more at Risk of Aortic Valve Sclerosis Reduced by Drinking.
IV. Cardiometabolic Risk
Cardiometabolic risk describes a person’s risk of damaging their heart and blood vessels. Risk factors include obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. Multiple factors greatly increase the cardiometabolic risk.
Researchers found that moderate drinking with dinner decreases this risk
Find more at Alcohol and Cardiometabolic Risk.
V. Cardiovascular Disease
Researchers systematic reviewed prospective cohort studies. They analyzed 59 studies that involved 5,358,902 women.
Not smoking was the single most important way to reduce the risk of CVD, CVD death, and all-cause death. Keeping proper weight was also important in reducing those risks. Drinking alcohol in moderation greatly reduced risk as did being physically active. This is an important alcohol and heart health fact.
Learn more at Lifestyle and CVD & Death among Women.
Researchers studied nearly two million adults who were followed over time. Moderate drinkers had lower risk of developing CVD. That’s compared to non-drinkers, former drinkers, or heavy drinkers.
Learn more at Alcohol and CVDe. Moderate Drinking is Protective.
VII. CVD Patient Deaths
The risk of cardiovascular death dropped by 22% among those who had about two drinks daily. All-cause death also dropped greatly.
See more at Drinking Alcohol and Mortality in CVD Patients.
VIII. Cardiovascular Health
They also found that it’s linked with much lower risks of heart artery disease. Also, it was much lower for type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and stroke.
Discover more at Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health and Long Life.
IX. CVD Death
Researchers analyzed drinking and the risk of death from CVD. They did so from data in nine large samples of the U.S. population. Each followed individuals over time.
They found that light and moderate drinking greatly reduced the risk of death from CVD.
Find more at Drinking Alcohol and Risk of CVD Death.
X. CVD and Hypertension
Researchers studied 10,530 hypertensive women. That is, women with high blood pressure.
They found that moderate drinking is linked with greatly reduced risk of CVD. That’s compared to lifetime abstainers.
Learn more at Alcohol and CVD among Women with Hypertension.
XI. Coronary Artery Disease (Heart Disease)
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death for people in the U.S. Another common name is heart disease.
The medical evidence shows that drinking alcohol in moderation leads to lower risk of coronary artery disease. That’s one of the reasons it generally leads to longer life.
Read more at Drinking and Coronary Artery Disease Risk.
XII. Drinking Over Guidelines Beneficial
In this cross-over study, researchers studied postmenopausal women. Thus, half the women drank alcohol. Then they abstained while the other half drank.
During the periods when participants were drinking alcohol, blood factors linked with poor cardiovascular health dropped greatly.
These health benefits were obtained from drinking alcohol far in excess of official US guidelines for women. That’s because those guidelines are based on political and cultural factors. But they’re not based on medical evidence
Learn more about the study at Cardiovascular Health Benefitted from Drinking Over Guidelines
XIII. Exercise vs. Alcohol
Researchers studied about 12,000 people for 20 years. They found that moderate drinking and exercising are not interchangeable. Instead, they are cumulative in their positive effects on the heart and vascular systems.
Doing one is better than nothing. But doing both is the best choice. This greatly reduces the risk of death from heart disease. And the same is also true for all-cause mortality
Exercise your right to visit Exercise vs. Alcohol for Heart Health (Which is Better?)
XIV. Hardening of the Arteries (Atherosclerosis)
Researchers wanted to see if this also applies to HIV+ persons. They found that heavy drinking was not linked with risk of getting atherosclerosis in men or women. That’s compared with abstinent/low consumption.
Moderate drinking was linked with 54% lower risk for getting the disease in men. But it didn’t reduce it in women.
They concluded that such drinking was linked with a great protective effect on getting atherosclerosis in HIV+ men.
Find more at Alcohol Drinking and Atherosclerosis among HIV+ Persons.
XV. Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarctiion)
Light and moderate drinking reduced heart attacks. A one drink increment in daily drinking reduced risk by 28%. This was after adjusting for major heart disease risk factors. As other studies report, requency was more important than quantity of drinking in reducing the risk of heart attack.
Discover more is at Alcohol and Heart Attacks.
XVI. Heart Attacks and Strokes
Researchers studied data from 204,557 people for an average of 9.1 years. Moderate alcohol drinkers had lower risk of stroke, heart attack, and all-cause death. On the other hand, the risk of all-cause death was higher among heavy drinkers.
More about the research is at Effects of Alcohol on Risk of Strokes and Heart Attacks.
XVII. Heart Attack Survival
Research studies show that drinking alcohol improves heart attack survival. This is true of drinking both before and after a heart attack.
Learn more about the research at Heart Attack Survival Increased by Drinking .
XVIII. Heart Failure
The lowest rate of heart failure was among those who had up to seven drinks per week. Next was those having seven to fourteen drinks per week. And those who had over 14 drinks per week had a heart failure rate nearing that of the abstainers. But no level of alcohol intake had a higher risk of heart failure than that of lifetime abstainers.
There’s more at Drinking Alcohol and Heart Failure.
XIX. Heart Failure Risk among Men
Researchers studied 33,760 men age 45 to 79. They then followed them for 14 years.
The researchers found that having seven to 14 drinks weekly gave the greatest protection. It led to a 19% lower heart failure risk. That’s compared to abstainers.
See more at Heart Failure Risk among Men.
XX. How Alcohol Reduces Risk
Describes some of the many known ways in which moderate drinking reduces the risk of CVD. That includes heart attack. In short, it explains the dynamics of alcohol and heart health.
Learn more at How Alcohol Reduces Risk of CVD, Including Heart Attacks.
Alcohol and Heart Health
Popular Books: Alcohol and Heart Health
- Butterfield, C. Lower Cholesterol.
- Fuhrman, J. and Pruden, J. The End of Heart Disease. Eat to Live.
- Marler, J. Stroke for Dummies.
- Nardo, D. CVD and Diet.
- Purcell, J., et al. Heart Attack. A Guide for Heart Attack Survivors.
- Rinzler, C, and Graf, M. Controlling Cholesterol for Dummies.
- Samaan, R. Dietary Fiber for the Prevention of CVD.
- Seshadri, S. and Debette, S. Risk Factors for Stroke.
- Taylor, L, et al. Can I Tell You about Having a Stroke? A Guide.
- Villegas, A. and Sanchez, A. The Prevention of CVD through Diet. (Advice about alcohol and heart health.)
- Now you know much more about alcohol and heart health than most people.
- Know of any facts that should be included? If so, please contact hansondj [at sign] potsdam [dot] edu/. And thank you for your help!