A routine of light or moderate alcohol consumption (≤1 drink/day for women and 1 to 2 drinks/day for men) is associated with a lower risk for all-cause mortality, coronary artery disease (CAD), type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), heart failure (HF), and stroke. Conversely, heavy drinking, (>4 drinks/day) is associated with an increased risk for death and cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD). Excessive alcohol intake trails behind only smoking and obesity among the 3 leading causes of premature deaths in the United States (US). Heavy alcohol use is a common cause of reversible hypertension (HTN), nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation (AF), and stroke (both ischemic and hemorrhagic). Among males aged 15 to 59 years, alcohol abuse is perhaps the leading cause of premature death. As such, the risk-to-benefit ratio of drinking is less favorable in younger individuals. A daily habit of light to moderate drinking is ideal for those who choose to consume alcohol regularly. Red wine in particular before or during the evening meal is linked with the best long-term CV outcomes. Most of the studies on alcohol and health are observational, and correlation does not prove causation. Health care professionals should not advise nondrinkers to begin drinking because of the paucity of randomized outcome data coupled with the potential for alcohol abuse even among seemingly low risk individuals.
Keywords: Alcohol; Atrial fibrillation; Cardiovascular disease; Heart failure.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.