Alcohol Consumption Has No Protective Effect on the Heart, Say Researchers

(HealthDay News) — Alcohol consumption has neither harmful nor protective effects on the arteries of the heart, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held from Nov. 27 to Dec. 2 in Chicago.

The findings were based on 1,925 patients referred for computed tomography (CT) angiography. About 40 percent said they regularly drank alcohol — typically having about seven drinks a week. Patients were considered light-to-moderate drinkers if they had no more than 14 units of alcohol in a week. A unit translates to about 7 ounces of beer, just over 3 ounces of wine, or 1.35 ounces of liquor.

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The researchers found that, overall, there was no connection between patients’ drinking habits and the presence of coronary artery disease. It made no difference whether wine, beer, or liquor was the alcohol of choice. None appeared protective at moderate levels.

“No prior studies have assessed the relationship between alcohol consumption and the presence of coronary heart disease as depicted by coronary CT angiography,” lead researcher Julia Karady, M.D., Ph.D., of the Heart and Vascular Center at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, told HealthDay. “We could not find any relation between the presence of coronary artery disease and alcohol consumption.”

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