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Moderate drinking linked with lower risk of some heart conditions

In one of the first large-scale studies of its kind, drinking is associated with a lower risk of some, but not all, cardiovascular diseases.
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In one of the first large-scale studies of its kind, drinking is associated with a lower risk of some, but not all, cardiovascular diseases.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and University College London analysed the electronic health records of 1.93 million healthy adults as part of the CALIBER (ClinicAl research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records) data resource.

Participants were aged over 30 and were free from cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Non-drinkers were separated from former and occasional drinkers.

Lower risk

Researchers looked at 12 common symptomatic manifestations of cardiovascular disease and found that, compared to abstaining from alcohol, moderate drinking was associated with a lower risk of first presenting to a doctor with several, but not all, cardiovascular conditions. These included angina, heart

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In one of the first large-scale studies of its kind, drinking is associated with a lower risk of some, but not all, cardiovascular diseases.


The study separated non-drinkers from former and occasional drinkers. Picture: iStock

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and University College London analysed the electronic health records of 1.93 million healthy adults as part of the CALIBER (ClinicAl research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records) data resource.

Participants were aged over 30 and were free from cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. Non-drinkers were separated from former and occasional drinkers.

Lower risk 

Researchers looked at 12 common symptomatic manifestations of cardiovascular disease and found that, compared to abstaining from alcohol, moderate drinking was associated with a lower risk of first presenting to a doctor with several, but not all, cardiovascular conditions. These included angina, heart failure and ischaemic stroke, 

14

the maximum number of units of alcohol men and women should drink per week to keep alcohol-related health risks to a low level.

Source: Chief Medical Officer guidelines.

In the UK, moderate drinking is defined as no more than 14 units (112 grams) of alcohol a week.

However, the authors argue in the British Medical Journal that it would be unwise to encourage drinking to lower cardiovascular risk over safer ways such as physical activity and stopping smoking.


Bell S et al (2017) Association between clinically recorded alcohol consumption and initial presentation of 12 cardiovascular diseases: population based cohort study using linked health records. BMJ. http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j909

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