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Int J Cardiol. 2013 Apr 15;164(3):267-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.01.030. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Alcohol and the heart: to abstain or not to abstain?

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Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19141, United States.


Alcohol has been consumed by most societies over the last 7000 years. Abraham Lincoln said "It has long been recognized that the problems with alcohol relate not to the use of a bad thing, but to the abuse of a good thing." Light to moderate alcohol consumption reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD), ischemic stroke, peripheral arterial disease, CHD mortality, and all-cause mortality, especially in the western populations. However, heavy alcohol consumption is detrimental causing cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmias, hepatic cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and hemorrhagic stroke. In this article, we review the effects of alcohol on CHD, individual cardiovascular risk factors, cardiomyopathy, and cardiac arrhythmias, including the most recent evidence of the effects of alcohol on CHD.

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