Encyclopedia of Heart Diseases

2011 Edition
| Editors: M. Gabriel Khan

Alcohol and the Heart

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-60761-219-3_4

Overview

There is growing evidence that alcohol consumption, significantly, protects against cardiovascular disease (CVD) but remains inconclusive.
  • If one or two drinks daily provide some beneficial effects, then these effects are modest.

  • Most importantly, only those at higher risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) may benefit.

  • Thus, individuals aged 20–40, particularly women, should not use alcohol for  cardioprotection, because they are at low risk for CHD events.

  • Individuals from age 40 to 80 with a strong family history of heart attack or stroke before age 60 and presence of hypertension or diabetes probably may obtain some CVD protection, but studies have not provided clear answers ( Hypertension).

  • The protection is expected to be 90% less than that observed for statin therapy to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels <2 mmol/L (75 mg/dL) ( Statins,  Cholesterol).

It is noteworthy that trials on antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, and the use of folic acid and...
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Suggested Reading

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