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Alcohol Associated With Lower Heart Disease Risk

Study finds Spanish men who drink alcohol have less coronary events than non-drinkers

THURSDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Men who drink alcohol are at lower risk of coronary heart disease than their non-drinking counterparts, according to a Spanish study published online Nov. 19 in Heart.

Larraitz Arriola, M.D., of the Public Health Department of Gipuzkoa in San Sebastian, Spain, and colleagues analyzed data on 15,630 men and 25,808 women who comprised the Spanish cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer to look at the relation between alcohol intake and coronary heart disease events during 10 years of follow-up.

For men, the researchers found that the crude coronary heart disease incidence rate was 300.6 per 100,000 person-years, while the rate was 47.9 per 100,000 for women. There was a reduced risk of coronary heart disease in men, associated with their extent of alcohol consumption -- hazard ratio 0.90 for former drinkers, 0.65 for low-level consumers, 0.49 for moderate drinkers, 0.46 for heavy drinkers, and 0.50 for those who consumed more than 90 grams a day. The authors further note that the small number of coronary events may explain why the benefits detected among women were not statistically significant.

"The results of our study show a negative association between alcohol intake and coronary heart disease," the authors write. "We can also state, although with caution, that our study is free of the so called 'abstainer error' and that residual confounding does not influence the results obtained to any significant degree."

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