A study that looked at the drinking habits and lifestyles of more than 80,000 Japanese women and men over a 14-year period showed that gender and the amount of alcohol consumed may help determine one’s risk for heart disease and stroke. The study showed that women, in particular, were more affected by heavy drinking than men who drank the same amount.
Here are some notable findings:
- Women who drank heavily quadrupled their risk of heart disease death compared with women who didn’t drink.
- Women who drank heavily had a 92% higher risk of death from stroke.
- Among women, light drinking (about 2 drinks per day) was associated with a 17% lower risk of death by heart disease, however moderate drinking (about 2 -4 drinks per day) was linked to an increased risk of 45%.
- In comparison, men who drank heavily (about 4 or more drinks per day) had a 19% lower risk of dying from coronary heart disease than non-drinking men. However, these heavy drinkers also had a 48% increased risk of death from all types of stroke.
Women should clearly take caution when they read stories about the “health benefits” of drinking alcohol. The amount of alcohol consumed can determine whether there is an actual benefit or a greater risk of disease.
According to study co-author Dr. Hiroyasu Iso, a professor of public health at Osaka University in Japan, “An amount of alcohol that may be beneficial for men is not good for women at all.”
Those in the study had no previous experiences with cancer, stroke or heart disease prior to the study. An author of the study also noted that a limitation in the study included the social restrictions the Japanese culture has against women drinking as they get older. Hence, the women who drank in the study may have had other factors that affected their heart disease and stroke risk.
The study appeared in the July 11, 2008 issue of the journal Stroke.
Source: (HealthDay) Alcohol’s Impact on Heart, Stroke Risk Differs by Gender