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Alcohol may reduce risk of coronary heart disease, but at a price

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Drinking larger quantities of alcohol each day may cut the risk of coronary heart disease in men by more than one-third, a recent study suggests.

A research team, led by the Basque Public Health Department in Spain followed the drinking habits of more than 15,500 men and 26,000 women for 10 years, and categorized them in groups ranging from abstainers to those who consumed the equivalent of eight bottles of wine each week, BBC News reports.

While the correlation between alcohol use and heart disease was weak in female participants, the researchers found that males drinking about one drink per day had a risk of coronary heart disease that was reduced by 35 percent. The risk was lowered by about 50 percent in men who consumed between three and 11 drinks each day.

Without discounting the study's results, some health officials have claimed that alcohol consumption is associated with a much higher risk of developing other diseases.

Cathy Ross, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation told the news source that while alcohol has been linked to lower rates of coronary heart disease, "cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle, is associated with high alcohol intake and can lead to a premature death."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronary heart disease accounts for about 68 percent of all heart disease deaths in the U.S.
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