A heart attack occurs when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. It is vital for a person to ensure their diet is heart-healthy avoiding saturated fats and processed foods. A new study shines a light on the benefits of a certain beverage and how it could help to reduce your risk.
A study published in the open access journal, BMC Medicine, have made a startling discovery that alcohol may not be as bad for the heart as many may think.
The study found that by drinking up to 105 grams of alcohol per week may be associated with a decreased risk of heart attack, stroke, angina or death among those with cardiovascular disease.
Researchers found that drinking 13 UK units of alcohol which equates to roughly six pints of medium-strength beer or just over a bottle of wine per week may have added health value to the heart.
Chengyi Ding, the corresponding author, said: “Our findings suggest that people with cardiovascular disease (CVD) may not need to stop drinking in order to prevent additional heart attacks, strokes or angina, but that they may wish to consider lowering their weekly alcohol intake.
“As alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing other illnesses, those with CVD who do not drink should not be encouraged to take up drinking.”
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Researchers from University College London (UCL) found that, among people with CVD, those who drank up to 15 grams of alcohol per day – equivalent to less than two UK units, with one unit equal to half a pint of medium-strength beer or half a standard glass of wine – had a lower risk of recurrent heart attack, stroke, angina or death, compared to those who did not drink.
It was also noted that those who drank more than 62 grams of alcohol per day – equivalent to less than eight UK units – did not have an increased risk of recurrent heart attack, stroke, angina or death, compared to those who did not drink alcohol.
Those who drank six grams of alcohol per day had a 50 percent lower risk of recurrent heart attack, angina or stroke than those who did not drink.
Those who drank eight grams per day had a 27 percent lower risk of death due to heart attack, stroke or angina, and those who drank seven grams per day had a 21 percent lower risk of death due to any cause, compared to those who did not drink.
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The authors of the study analysed health records for 48,423 adults in the United Kingdom with CVD.
The UK Biobank Health Survey for England, and the Scottish Health Survey, provided the data – as did 12 previous studies.
The study used data from individuals who had documented and self-reported their alcohol consumption for 14 years from 1994–2008.
For the study, the researchers matched their histories with hospital admission, health, and death-registry records.
Dr Nguyen called the study “interesting,” though he voiced some concerns.
He said that the study’s analysis does not count heavy drinkers or those who have stopped drinking due to health issues among its alcohol users, “making the current drinkers healthier compared to non-drinkers”.
This may have the effect of overstating drinking’s positive effects.
Symptoms of a heart attack which you need to be aware of include:
- Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat