What are the long-term effects of alcohol drinking and women’s health? This is a very important question.
Study: Drinking and Women’s Health
Researchers studied this question. To do so, they reviewed findings from the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II. These are among the largest sources of data in the world. They focus on major diseases in women.
The Nurses’ Health Study began in 1976. The Nurses’ Health Study II began in 1989. Both studies involve periodically collecting facts about lifestyle habits. They also collect other behaviors and other facts. This is done about every four years.
Researchers have analyzed the importance of such things as risk factors for various diseases and conditions. Both studies also have detailed facts on alcohol drinking.
The great advantage these two studies is that they collect facts about the same women for decades. And it’s from hundreds of thousands of women. Also the information is very detailed. Thus, it’s possible to consider smoking, obesity, and other possible risk factors.
These include high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death, gallstones, and cognitive decline. That’s compared to either abstainers or heavy drinkers. But compared to abstainers there’s an increase in breast cancer. (About 3% of women die of breast cancer.)
Most important, moderate drinking leads to lower risk from any cause (all-cause death). Women who drink in moderation tend to live longer.
The benefits of moderate drinking increase if women drink at least four days per week.
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Source: Drinking and Women’s Health
- Mostofsky, E., et al. Alcohol consumption and a variety of health outcomes. Am J Pub Health, 106(9), 1586-1591.
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