Binge drinking may increase heart risk

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A study recently published online in BMJ found that men in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a city famous for heavy weekend benders, are 76% more likely to experience cardiac events than Frenchmen of the same age. This is an amazing finding when you account for the fact that Frenchmen generally eat foods higher in fats and sugars and drink alcohol more frequently. The study of almost 10,000 middle-age men adjusted for traditional cardiovascular risk factors with little variation; however, after adjusting for drinking status, the increased cardiac risk factor among Irishmen fell by half. The authors theorized that the fall in risk factor was at least partially accounted for by the fact that while men in both nations drink often, Frenchmen drink regularly throughout the week in moderation and Irishmen in Belfast drink heavily on the weekends. “Regular and moderate alcohol intake throughout the week, the typical pattern in middle aged men in France, is associated with a low risk of ischemic heart disease, whereas the binge drinking pattern more prevalent in Belfast confers a higher risk… The alcohol industry takes every opportunity to imbue alcohol consumption with a positive image, emphasizing its beneficial effects on risk of ischemic heart disease, but people also need to be informed about the health consequences of heavy drinking,” Ruidavets and co-authors wrote. Click here to read an article from the BBC that discusses this study more.

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