Associations of Binge Drinking With the Risks of Ischemic Heart Disease and Stroke: A Study of Pooled Norwegian Health Surveys

Am J Epidemiol. 2021 Aug 1;190(8):1592-1603. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwab063.


Norwegian health survey data (1987-2003) were analyzed to determine if binge drinking increases the risk of incident major events from ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke. Among current drinkers reporting average alcohol intakes of 2.00-59.99 g/day (n = 44,476), frequent binge drinking (≥5 units at least once per month) was not associated with a greater risk of IHD (adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.76, 1.09) or stroke (adjusted HR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.81, 1.19), in comparison with participants who reported that they never or only infrequently (less than once per month) had episodes of binge drinking. Participants with an average alcohol intake of 2.00-59.99 g/day had a lower risk of IHD in comparison with participants with very low intakes (<2.00 g/day), both among frequent binge drinkers (adjusted HR = 0.67, 95% CI: 0.56, 0.80) and among never/infrequent binge drinkers (adjusted HR = 0.75, 95% CI: 0.67, 0.84). The findings suggest that frequent binge drinking, independent of average alcohol intake, does not increase the risk of incident IHD or stroke events. However, the findings should be interpreted in light of the limitations of the study design.

Keywords: alcohol consumption; binge drinking; ischemic heart disease; prospective observational study; stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult