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Excessive Drinking Boosts Risk for Metabolic Syndrome

More than 2 a day for men, 1 for women, increases odds of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes

MONDAY, Aug. 4, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- People who drink too much have increased odds of developing metabolic syndrome, a series of risk factors and conditions that are strongly related to cardiovascular disease, a new study says.

The study, expected to be published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, defines excess drinking as more than two drinks per day for men or one drink a day for women. Binge drinkers are also considered to be at an increased risk.

Conditions of metabolic syndrome include obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

"Most people who consume alcohol in the United States drink in ways that may increase their risk of the metabolic syndrome and related conditions," study author Amy Fan, of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a news release issued by the journal.

Fan cited a recent national survey that showed 58 percent of U.S. drinkers exceed the daily one- or two-drink a day guideline, and that just more than half of all drinkers had at least one episode of binge drinking in the past year.

For this study, researchers evaluated data from 1,529 people who consumed at least 12 alcoholic drinks in 12 months between 1999 and 2002. The participants, aged 20 to 84, were interviewed and had a physical examination that included a blood test.

"Prevention efforts should focus on reducing alcohol consumption to safer levels," Fan said. "Unfortunately, few physicians screen their patients about alcohol use or are knowledgeable about guidelines that define low-risk or moderate drinking."

She said public health messages should emphasize the potential cardiometabolic risk linked to drinking in excess.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about metabolic syndrome.

SOURCE: The Endocrine Society, news release, July 30, 2008
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