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Heart Health

Occasional Binge Drinking Erases the Cardiac Benefits of Moderate Drinking

posted 01:57 AM EST, Fri February 19, 2010
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While a drink a day may be heart healthy, binge drinking, even occasionally, seems to eliminate the cardiovascular benefits of moderate drinking and increase the risk of heart disease.

Canadian researchers out of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto say that moderate drinkers who occasionally binge drink are 45% more likely to develop heart disease than moderate drinkers who don’t binge.

Occasional binging was defined as having more than 5 drinks in a sitting more than 12 times per year. Daily binge drinkers were not included in the comparison study.

To come up with the risk statistics, the researchers evaluated data from 14 international studies involving more than 50 000 drinkers. Some of the studies compared the habits of heart disease patients to those without heart disease and others were simply longitudinal observation studies that linked behaviors to health consequences.

The researchers say that heavy (binge drinking) can raise blood pressure, cause blood clotting and heart rhythm disturbances negative consequences that seem to more than counteract the modest benefits provided by the moderate consumption of alcohol.

Other studies have shown that a drink or 2 a day can raise good cholesterol levels and reduce the risks of blood clotting.

Lead researcher, Michael Roerecke says that the study results show clearly that while some moderate drinking may have some benefits, that, “not all alcohol consumption is good for health.”

The researchers have published their findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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