CHEST 2007: Alcohol May Improve Lung Function

Compared to abstainers, light to moderate drinkers have better scores on lung-function tests

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Light to moderate drinkers may be less likely than non-drinkers to have abnormal lung function regardless of smoking status or evidence of lung or heart disease, according to research presented this week at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians in Chicago.

Stanton T. Siu, M.D., of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in California, and colleagues studied 1964-1973 data on 177,637 members of a Northern California comprehensive health plan.

Compared to non-drinkers, the researchers found that patients who consumed fewer than two drinks per day and those who consumed three to five drinks per day were less likely to have forced expiratory volume in one second/forced vital capacity levels below 0.7 (odds ratios, 0.82 and 0.90, respectively). But patients who consumed six or more drinks per day were more likely than non-drinkers to have impaired lung function (OR, 1.09). Compared to non-drinkers, the researchers found that ex-smokers, light smokers and heavy smokers who consumed fewer than two drinks per day were less likely to have abnormal lung function (ORs, 0.85, 0.89 and 0.87, respectively). They also found that patients with evidence of cardiorespiratory disease who consumed fewer than two drinks per day were less likely to have abnormal lung function (OR, 0.84).

"Drinking light to moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages may have benefit for lung function," the authors conclude.

Abstract

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