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Moderate alcohol not safe for heart - conference

Tuesday May 24th 2022

Moderate levels of alcohol consumption can contribute to increased risk of heart failure, a European conference has heard.

Drinkers should consume less than a bottle of wine a week or no more than three and a half cans of beer, researchers said.

An analysis of a European heart failure study found that moderate drinkers faced a four times increased risk of their heart health deteriorating compared with those who do not drink alcohol.

Moderate drinking is defined as up to two bottles of wine or seven cans of beer a week.

The study, known as STOP-HF, involved 744 people over the age of 40. The average age of participants was 66.

The findings were reported to Heart Failure 2022, a conference of the European Society of Cardiology.

Researcher Dr Bethany Wong, of St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, said: “This study adds to the body of evidence that a more cautious approach to alcohol consumption is needed.

“To minimise the risk of alcohol causing harm to the heart, if you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, limit your weekly consumption to less than one bottle of wine or less than three-and-a-half 500 ml cans of 4.5% beer.”

Dr Wong added: “We did not observe any benefits of low alcohol usage. Our results indicate that countries should advocate lower limits of safe alcohol intake in pre-heart failure patients.

“In Ireland, for example, those at risk of heart failure or with pre-heart failure are advised to restrict weekly alcohol intake to 11 units for women and 17 units for men. This limit for men is more than twice the amount we found to be safe.

“More research is needed in Caucasian populations to align results and reduce the mixed messages that clinicians, patients and the public are currently getting.”

Abstract: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with progression of left ventricular dysfunction in a European stage B heart failure population

Tags: Drug & Alcohol Abuse | Europe | Heart Health

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