Harmful Substances

Alcohol

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that if you drink alcohol, limit the amount.  This means an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.  An example of a drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. shot of liquor.  Limiting your alcoholic drink intake per day may be associated with a reduced heart attack risk, perhaps due to its effect on HDL (“good”) cholesterol. On the other hand, if you drink more than the recommended amount, there is an increased risk not only for alcoholism, but also high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, as well as breast cancer and accidents.  Accordingly, the AHA advises those who do not already drink alcohol, NOT to start drinking for some expected health benefit. Also, you may want to discuss with your doctor or other health care provider your own personal risk factors and the risks of consuming alcohol even in moderation.


What are the effects of drinking too much alcohol? 

  • Drinking too much alcohol can lead to an increase in the levels of some fats in the blood (triglycerides).  
  • Drinking too much alcohol may also lead to high blood pressure, heart failure and an increased calorie intake, which can result in obesity and thus a higher risk of developing diabetes.
  • Drinking too much alcohol and binge drinking can lead to strokes, as well as heart problems such as arrhythmias or skipped heart beats and sudden cardiac death.

References:

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12531837 (February, 2011)
  2. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Alcohol-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_305173_Article.jsp (February, 2012)
  3. Pai JK, Mukamal KJ, Rimm EB. Long-term alcohol consumption in relation to all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among survivors of myocardial infarction: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Eur Heart J. 2012 Mar 27.

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