16 july 2013

Binge drinking and vascular function: a sober look at the data

Grain alcohol is a simple molecule (ethanol) but a complex drug. Alcohol has divergent cardiovascular effects depending on the amount consumed. In moderation, alcohol is associated with reduced risk for coronary heart disease, most likely because it increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Especially in excess, alcohol impairs ventricular function, increases arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, and causes hypertension. The latter is an important consequence but is often overlooked by clinicians treating patients with hypertension. Although more attention has been given to the type of alcohol ingested (e.g., red vs. white wine), the pattern of drinking is far more important. In a study of 1,935 subjects after myocardial infarction, steady drinkers experienced a progressive decline in mortality with increasing consumption, whereas binge drinkers experienced no cardioprotection, even with heavy intake.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Vogel R.A.
  • Issue

    J.Am.Coll.Cardiol. / pages 208-209 / volume 62
  • Published Date

    16 july 2013