Scientists have raised the alarm over the impact of alcohol abuse on heart, saying too much drinking would impact negatively on the heart.
Findings in a new study published on Monday in the ‘Journal of the American College of Cardiology,’ suggested that there is a link between too much drinking and heart problems, the number one cause of death worldwide.
According to the study, abusing alcohol increases the likelihood of suffering atrial fibrillation, heart attack or congestive heart failure.
Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.
Other heart conditions such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, are also considered forms of heart disease.
Reacting to the study, a senior author in the study, Dr. Gregory M. Marcus, who is Director of Clinical Research in the Division of Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco, United States said: “One of the most surprising findings is that people who abused alcohol are at increased risk for heart attack or myocardial infarction.
Past data suggests that moderate drinking may be protective, he said, helping to ward off this disease. Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women’s heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, believes that both scientists and the media have been highlighting the good components of alcohol, such as resveratrol in wine and “been really pushing that a glass of wine is good for our health.”
But the bottom line of this new study is clear, she said. “When we look at alcohol, we have almost glamourised it as being this substance that can help us live a really heart-healthy life,” said Steinbaum.
“I think, ultimately, drinking in excess leads to heart conditions, and we should really understand the potential toxicity of alcohol and not glamourise it as something we should include as part of our lives, certainly not in excess.”
The National Institutes of Health frequently highlights the ways in which too much drinking can lead to accidents, cirrhosis and some cancers.
Yet cardiovascular studies have suggested that moderate consumption of alcohol is good for our heart health.
The authors of the new study cite a 2007 study published in the journal ‘Circulation.’
Not only did moderate drinking lead to no negative effects, the study authors conclude that “moderate drinking may lower the risk of heart failure.”
Since many of us believe that “more of a good thing is always better,” Marcus and his colleagues decided to investigate how excessive drinking might impact our risk of developing atrial fibrillation or arrhythmic beating of the heart; myocardial infarction, or heart attack; and congestive heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart cannot effectively push blood through the arteries and circulatory system to the body’s other organs and tissues.
For data, Marcus and his colleagues turned to the Healthcare Cost and Utilisation Project’s California State Ambulatory Surgery Databases, Emergency Department Databases and State Inpatient Databases.
They looked at California residents, 21 or older, who had been hospitalised anytime between 2005 and 2009. All told, Marcus and his team analysed the medical records of 14,727,591 patients.
Of these, 1.8 per cent or approximately 268,000 had been diagnosed with alcohol abuse. Marcus said there was no specific cutoff regarding a specific amount of alcohol or time period and admitted that this was a limitation of the study.
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