Alcohol linked to lower heart risk

April 29, 2011 at 5:24 PM

BOSTON, April 29 (UPI) -- Both moderate and hazardous drinking are associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease compared with abstinence, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Boston University Medical Center assessed the 12-month prevalence of coronary heart disease in individuals who drank alcohol and others who abstained.

The researchers used data from the 2001 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions study of 43,093 people, which identified 16,147 abstinent individuals, 15,884 moderate drinkers and 9,578 hazardous drinkers -- exceeding World Health Organization male and female weekly limits -- and 1,484 alcohol-dependent subjects.

The study, published in the American Journal of Addictions, found both moderate and hazardous drinking were associated with decreased odds of coronary heart disease when compared with abstinence, but the risks of coronary heart disease were not significantly different between alcohol-dependent and abstinent participants.

However, the study has limitations including a lack of socioeconomic variables for adjusting for confounding due to tobacco use and drug abuse; quitters who left the study because of illness, unhealthy hazardous drinkers dying earlier than the healthy ones, and unmeasured factors such as exercise and diet, the study says.

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