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Modest Drinking Tied to Lower Cardiac Death Risk in Women

Women who drink 5.0 to 14.9 g/day of alcohol have a 36 percent reduced risk of sudden cardiac death

FRIDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Lower levels of alcohol intake are associated with a significantly reduced risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) among women, according to research published in the October issue of Heart Rhythm.

Stephanie E. Chiuve, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed the consumption of beer, wine, and liquor at four-year intervals for 85,067 women from the Nurses' Health Study who were healthy at baseline in 1976. The study end points included SCD, fatal coronary heart disease (CHD), and nonfatal myocardial infarction.

The researchers noted a U-shaped relationship between alcohol consumption and SCD risk. The lowest SCD risk was found among women who drank 5.0 to 14.9 g/day, with risk higher for nondrinkers, those who drank less, and those who drank more: relative risk, 0.79 for former drinkers; 0.77 for 0.1 to 4.9 g/day drinkers; 0.64 for 5.0 to 14.9 g/day drinkers; 0.68 for 15.0 to 29.9 g/day drinkers; and 1.15 for 30.0 g/day or more drinkers compared with abstainers. Conversely, the relationship between alcohol intake and fatal and nonfatal CHD was more linear.

"These data indicate that light-to-moderate alcohol intake may be considered part of a healthy lifestyle for overall chronic disease prevention, including prevention of SCD, when consumed responsibly and when not contraindicated by other factors," the authors write.

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