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Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2017 Mar;19(3):13. doi: 10.1007/s11883-017-0647-0.

Alcohol and Cardiovascular Disease: How Much is Too Much?

Author information

1
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
2
The Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
3
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. leongd@phri.ca.
4
The Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, ON, Canada. leongd@phri.ca.
5
C3-106 David Braley Building, Hamilton General Hospital, 237 Barton St. East, Hamilton, ON, Canada, L8L 2X2. leongd@phri.ca.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Previous research suggests that low-moderate alcohol consumption may have cardioprotective effects, while heavy or binge-pattern drinking is harmful. New evidence and research methodology may inform safe thresholds of alcohol use. This review examines recent evidence regarding alcohol's effect on cardiovascular disease, with a special consideration of pattern, drink type, and total quantity.

RECENT FINDINGS:

New epidemiologic research confirms the potential harmful cardiovascular effects of heavy episodic alcohol use and does not support the previous observation that low-moderate alcohol use protects against stroke. Alcohol consumption also appears to have a continuous positive relationship with the risk of atrial fibrillation. In addition, Mendelian randomization analyses suggest that alcohol may have a direct causal role in adverse cardiovascular effects. Recent studies have confirmed that heavy alcohol use (>14 drinks per week in women and >21 drinks per week in men) and heavy episodic drinking are associated with an increased risk of mortality. New research raises concerns that even low-moderate alcohol use may not offer cardio- or cerebrovascular protection. Drinking ≥3 drinks per day on a regular basis or ≥5 drinks in any one episode should be discouraged.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; Alcohol consumption; CVD; Cardiovascular disease; Drinking

PMID:
28210975
DOI:
10.1007/s11883-017-0647-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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