How a daily tipple helps heart attack survivors live longer
00:46 GMT, 28 March 2012
New findings: A couple of drinks each day helps heart attack survivors live longer, a study claims
A couple of drinks each day helps heart attack survivors live longer, a study claims.
It found that men who drank moderately after a first heart attack had a 42 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease than non-drinkers.
Their risk of death from any cause was also reduced by 14 per cent.
However, those who drank more than two drinks a day were no better off, says a report in the online edition of the European Heart Journal.
The findings are the latest to suggest that moderate drinking protects the heart and arteries before and after a cardiac arrest.
U.S. researchers monitored 1,818 men for up to 20 years after they had survived a first heart attack between 1986 and 2006.
The men – who were taking part in the U.S. Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, a major health and lifestyle investigation – were questioned about their diet and alcohol intake every four years.
Those who consumed between ten and 29.9 grams of alcohol a day – the equivalent of two 125millilitre glasses of wine, two bottles or cans of beer, or a shot of spirits – were classified as ‘moderate’ drinkers.
After 20 years, 468 men had died but those consuming two alcoholic drinks a day had a lower risk of death than non-drinkers from any cause. The type of drink did not affect the results.
Although it is unclear how alcohol protects the heart, one theory is it helps the body metabolise glucose more efficiently as well as reducing blood clotting.
Interesting: A study found that men who drank moderately after a first heart attack had a 42 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease than non-drinkers
Wine also contains high levels of antioxidants called flavonols which are good for the circulation, while red wine increases levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.
Dr Jennifer Pai, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said: ‘The adverse effects of heavy drinking include high blood pressure and reduced heart function. Our results emphasise the importance of alcohol in moderation.’