Moderate consumption of alcohol is not dangerous for adults with heart failure: study it
A study from the University of Washington Medical School in St. Louis points out that people over 65 who have just been diagnosed with heart failure can continue to drink moderate amounts of alcohol without worsening their condition.
The researchers analyzed data from a previous study called the Cardiovascular Health Study, which was conducted between 1989 and 1993. That included 5,888 adults in Medicare. Of these, 393 patients experienced heart failure for nine years of follow-up.
With an average age of 79 years, a little more than half of patients with heart failure are women and 86 percent are white. The patients were divided into four categories for analysis: people who never drank, people who drank and stopped in the past, people who drank seven drinks or less per week and people who drank eight or more drinks per week. The researchers defined a serving of alcohol as a 12 ounce beer, a glass of 6 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
After controlling for variables such as age, gender, race, education level, income, smoker status, blood pressure and other factors, the researchers found an association between consuming seven or fewer drinks per week and prolonged survival of more than one year, compared to long-term abstention.
Survival extended an average of 383 days and ranged from 17 to 748 days. The biggest benefit seems to come from consuming 10 drinks per week, but so few patients fall into that category so that data is not enough to draw definite conclusions.
"People who experience heart failure at an older age and never drink should not start drinking," said lead author and cardiologist David L. Brown, a professor of medicine at the university.
"But our research shows that people who drink one or two drinks a day before their heart failure diagnosis can continue to do so without worrying that it causes damage," Brown said, adding that decisions must always be made in consultation with a doctor
This study was published on December 28 at the JAMA Network Open.