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Ann Epidemiol. 2007 May;17(5 Suppl):S8-S12.

Alcohol intake and noncoronary cardiovascular diseases.

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Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Moderate drinking has complex associations with cardiovascular diseases other than coronary heart disease. Recent cohort studies examining the relationship between alcohol use and ischemic stroke have shown a modest association, with risk ratios approximating 0.8 and the lowest risk among those who drink less than daily. In contrast, alcohol use is generally associated with an approximate dose-dependent risk for hemorrhagic stroke throughout the full range of intake. Several prospective studies of alcohol intake and congestive heart failure have found lower risk with moderate drinking. This risk is also dose dependent through the moderate range, but its underlying mechanism remains uncertain. Accounting for the lower risk of myocardial infarction associated with moderate intake does not eliminate the observed association. Cohort studies have found no association of long-term alcohol intake with risk of atrial fibrillation below levels of at least 3 standard drinks per day. Finally, two prospective studies have found lower risks of claudication or clinically more severe peripheral arterial disease among moderate drinkers, an association also supported by cross-sectional studies of alcohol intake and ankle-brachial index.

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