Longer Life for Light to Moderate Drinkers
Benefits of moderate alcohol consumption may include fewer cardiac events
MONDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults who consume one to seven alcoholic beverages per week may live longer and have a reduced risk for cardiac events than their teetotaling counterparts, according to a study published in the July 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine that suggests these associations are independent of alcohol's anti-inflammatory effects.
Cinzia Maraldi, M.D., of the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues investigated the relationship between alcohol, death and cardiac events among 2,487 adults without heart disease aged 70 to 79. Researchers assessed alcohol consumption and levels of several inflammatory markers at baseline. During an average 5.6 years of follow-up, 397 participants died and 383 experienced a cardiac event.
Compared with never or occasional drinkers (less than one drink per week), those who drank lightly to moderately (one to seven drinks per week) had a 26 percent lower risk of death overall and an almost 30 percent lower risk of cardiac events. Heavy drinkers (more than seven drinks per week) were more likely to die or experience a cardiac event than never or occasional drinkers. The results held after researchers adjusted for inflammatory markers.
"The net benefit of light to moderate alcohol consumption may vary as a function of sex, race and background cardiovascular risk," the study authors caution.