Alcohol: The medical advice in Ireland is if you have a heart problem, you should be okay to drink 11 units for women and 17 units for men, per week. In what world is 11/17 units okay with a heart problem? Well, now some recent studies have shown that these levels of alcohol are too much for people with dodgy hearts.
Levels of alcohol consumption currently considered safe by some countries are linked with development of heart failure, according to research presented at Heart Failure 2022, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
“This study adds to the body of evidence that a more cautious approach to alcohol consumption is needed,” said study author Dr. Bethany Wong of St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. “To minimise the risk of alcohol causing harm to the heart, if you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, limit your weekly consumption to less than one bottle of wine or less than three-and-a-half 500 ml cans of 4.5% beer.”
According to the World Health Organization, the European Union is the heaviest-drinking region in the world. While it is well recognised that long-term heavy alcohol use can cause a type of heart failure called alcoholic cardiomyopathy, evidence from Asian populations suggests that lower amounts may also be detrimental.
The study used the Irish definition of one standard drink (i.e. one unit), which is 10 grams of alcohol.
The researchers analysed the association between alcohol use and heart health over a median of 5.4 years.
Alcohol: No Benefit in Cutting Down
Dr. Wong said, “Our study suggests that drinking more than 70 g of alcohol per week is associated with worsening pre-heart failure or progression to symptomatic heart failure in Europeans. We did not observe any benefits of low alcohol usage. Our results indicate that countries should advocate lower limits of safe alcohol intake in pre-heart failure patients.”
Currently in Ireland, those at risk of heart failure or with pre-heart failure are advised to restrict weekly alcohol intake to 11 units for women and 17 units for men.
This limit for men is more than twice the amount found to be safe in the study.
Says Dr Wong, “More research is needed in Caucasian populations to align results and reduce the mixed messages that clinicians, patients and the public are currently getting.”
Instead of drinking, get a pet. They have an amazing effect on your brain health.