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Doctors have struggled for several years now over whether to tell their patients about the potential cardiac benefits of alcohol. Over 60 clinical studies have suggested that light to moderate alcohol consumption (the equivalent of one or two 1 � oz. drinks of alcohol per day) can increase HDL cholesterol levels (the ?good? cholesterol,) can reduce the incidence of myocardial infarction (heart attack), and may have other cardiovascular benefits.
However, excessive alcohol consumption reliably causes a number of severe and often fatal medical problems, not to mention the destructive social pathologies associated with alcoholism itself.
For all these reasons, a special advisory panel of the American Heart Association issued a formal statement urging doctors not to recommend alcohol to their non-drinking patients as a means of reducing the risk of heart disease. This makes perfect sense. If doctors were seen to be encouraging alcohol, that would not only be politically incorrect, but might also lead to a significant increase in alcohol-related medical and social problems. Still, the apparent cardiac benefits of alcohol creates something of a dilemma for doctors.
The Evidence in Favor of Alcohol
Numerous prospective studies now suggest that people who engage in light to moderate alcohol consumption have a substantially reduced risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) - by as much as 40 - 70% - compared to those who drink either no alcohol, or those who drink more heavily.
And in a large meta-analysis that included over 80 observational studies, those with light to moderate alcohol intake had a 25% reduction in death from cardiovascular causes.
People who engage in light alcohol consumption appear to have a significantly reduced risk of developing heart failure.
Light to moderate alcohol consumption may help to prevent type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome. And in people who have diabetes, it may help to protect against CAD.
Up to two drinks per day may help to protect against stroke.
How Can Alcohol Protect the Heart?
Theories as to how light to moderate alcohol consumption can benefit cardiovascular health include the following:
Alcohol increases HDL cholesterol levels
Alcohol has antioxidant activity
Alcohol increases insulin sensitivity
Alcohol may help prevent abnormal blood clotting
Alcohol in low doses has anti-inflammatory properties
While it is widely believed that red wine may have special protective properties (largely stemming from the antioxidant properties of red grapes), in fact the overall data strongly suggests that it is the alcohol itself that is cardioprotective in small doses - regardless of the particular type of alcoholic beverage consumed.
The Evidence Against Alcohol
It is noteworthy that in all the studies assessing the effect of alcohol on the heart, women who consumed more than two drinks a day, and men who consumed more than three, had a substantial increase in overall cardiovascular mortality, including sudden death. Furthermore, several studies show that binge drinking (abstaining for several days, but drinking heavily on the days when alcohol is consumed) is associated with a substantially increased risk of CAD and of cardiovascular death.
In addition, drinking large amounts of alcohol is a well-recognized cause of cardiomyopathy and heart failure. People who have more than two drinks per day have a significantly increased risk of developing hypertension. And consuming more than two drinks per day appears to significantly increase the risk of stroke.
Both heavy drinking and binge drinking increase the risk of atrial fibrillation.
The Bottom Line
It appears quite evident that the relationship between alcohol and cardiac risk follows a "J-shaped" curve. Cardiac risk is lower when low to moderate alcohol is consumed than if either no alcohol is consumed, or if higher amounts of alcohol are consumed.
The problem for professional bodies and guideline-writers, obviously, is that many, many people find it difficult or impossible to limit their alcohol to one or two drinks per day. If guidelines actively promoted light alcohol consumption for the population, there is every reason to believe that the overall result would be a negative one, rather than a positive one. So, despite all the evidence regarding the cardiovascular benefits of light alcohol consumption, you should not hold your breath waiting for guidelines (or your doctor) to recommend such a thing.
I have dandruff in my hairs I have used so many shampoos and conditioner but the effect is none and hairfall is very much and itching is also occurring in my head.
My hair fall is tooo much and I lost my hair too much what I do for reducing the hair fall with out any treatment natural method?
My age is 60 now. I was affected with chickenguniea and got joint pains. The joint paints were curd but there in no improvement in my knee joint pains. I also have b. P.
I am 20 years old student and I have sneezing problem in early morning and fatigue. What should I do?
My beard is turning white (Gray) on right side for two years. My chest-hair is also having same problem. Two years ago it was fast due to severe dysentery. I am on vegetarian diet for six months. Now the whitening of beard has slowed but not stopped.
I had ligament operated 9 years back and also slip disc 4 years back. Pls suggest me any exercise to burn my calories and loose weight. Am 5 ft height and weight 60 kg. Have to loose at least 5 kg.
I am not an smoker but my lips turning dark in colour. Every morning lips became more darker. Plzz suggests me any best solution to gave up on this problem.
I have a lot of pimples on my skin. I am very worried about it. That's why have you any solutions about it?
I have black spots that appear associated with severe itching it gets worse when I’m in the shower and the black spots get bigger and spread daily am 29 years old have not switched any type of creams or detergents are perfumes.
I lost somebody close last year and since then feel very depressed and prefer keeping to myself all the time. Please help me.
How to remove fat from stomach without running. I can exercise in home but can't go for morning walk due to work schedule please suggest me. I don't eat any oily food but I can't live without tea I take 4 times in a day. I am 23 year old please help me.
My one of the teeth is paining and that teeth is become black. I didn't eat properly what I should do?
Lower back pain is a very common discomfort causing condition that occurs anywhere on the back below the ribs and above the legs. The pain is very common and it is faced by most individuals at least once during their lifetime.
The most basic measures to cure your lower back pain are exercising well, eating healthy and maintaining a good body posture at all times. Here are some of the common treatment options for reducing back pain.
Spinal Manipulation: It refers to an ancient form of therapy in which your back pain is treated externally. This form of treatment is quite similar to a massage treatment and helps to relax the muscles in the lower back area, thereby reducing the pain. It is usually done by osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, occupational therapists and physical therapists.
Neurostructural integration technique (NST): The main role of this type of treatment is to naturally reset the affected area of the body in order to allow it to regain its normal form. The results usually begin to appear after at least 2 sessions of the therapy and the effects are long lasting in nature.
Acupuncture: This is an old technique which uses small needles at strategic locations on your skin. The main aim of the acupuncturists is to re-balance the flow of energy in your body and to ensure that you have an optimal level of energy in all parts of your body. This in turn helps to regain the normal state of your lower back if the right points on the body are targeted.
Other measures: Some preventive measures which ensure that the lower back pain does not recur are as follows:
- Keep your spine straight and posture correct
- Avoid excessive bending, stretching or weight lifting
- Avoid heavy physical activities like sprinting
- Regular and light exercising