Moderate alcohol consumption is not harmful for adults with heart failure: a study
A study by the St. Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that people over 65 who have recently been diagnosed with heart failure may continue to consume moderate amounts of alcohol without worsening their condition.
The researchers analyzed data from a previous study, entitled "Research on Cardiovascular Disease," conducted from 1989 to 1993. It includes 5,888 Medicare adults. Of these, 393 patients developed heart failure within nine years of follow-up.
With an average age of 79 years, just over half of the patients with heart failure were women, and 86 percent were white. For analysis, patients were divided into four categories: people who never drank, people who drank and stopped in the past, people who drank seven or less drinks a week, and people who drank eight or more drinks a week. Researchers identified a serving of alcohol as 12 ounce beer, a 6 ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounce liquor.
By examining variables such as age, gender, race, education, income, smoker status, blood pressure, and other factors, the researchers found a link between consuming seven or less drinks per week and long-term survival for just over a year, compared with prolonged abstinence.
Life expectancy averaged 383 days and ranged from 17 to 748 days. Apparently, consumption of 10 drinks per week seems to be the most beneficial, but so few patients fall into this category that there was not enough data to draw final conclusions.
“People who develop heart failure later in life and who never drink should not start drinking,” says lead author and cardiologist David L. Brown, a professor of medicine at the university.
“But our research shows that people who took one or two drinks a day before a diagnosis of heart failure can continue to do so without worrying that it is harmful,” said Brown, adding that the decision should always be made consultation with doctors.
The study was published on December 28 in the JAMA Network Open.