Women's Heart Advisor October 2009 Issue

Research Shows...

When it comes to alcohol, a little may be good for your heart, but a lot is definitely not better. An Irish study of binge drinking showed that heavy alcohol use adversely affects both men and women’s hearts—but in different ways. In the study, men and women referred to a clinic for elevated blood pressure were categorized by their drinking habits. The researchers found a dose-response correlation between alcohol use and high blood pressure in men: Those who drank heavily tended to develop stiff arteries and ventricles, which raised their blood pressure. In the women who drank heavily, no connection between alcohol consumption and blood pressure was seen. Instead, the researchers found a direct correlation with thickening of the left ventricle. The women were developing cardiomyopathy—enlargement of the heart muscle, an early sign of heart failure—at the average age of 42.

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