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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Do This at 40. Prevent a Heart Attack?

People who do not drink alcohol, might want to start. Those who first begin drinking in middle age are 38 percent less likely to have a heart attack or other serious heart event than those who abstain completely--even if they are overweight or have diabetes, high blood pressure or other heart risks, reports Reuters Health.

That's the word from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, which found that light to moderate drinkers are healthier than teetotalers. Until now, researchers have always advised those who don't drink not to start just for the health benefits. This time may be different. Lead study author Dr. Dana King admitted to Reuters Health, "This study certainly shifts the balance a little bit."

The study: The South Carolina team examined the medical records of 7,697 people who participated in a larger study; all of them were between the ages of 45 and 64 and began that larger study as non-drinkers. In a 10-year period, 6 percent of these volunteers started drinking for reasons that are not known. King calls it a "natural experiment." The new drinkers were then followed for four more years by King's team.

The results: Among the new drinkers, there was a 38 percent drop in newly diagnosed cardiovascular disease, compared with those who never drank. Those who drank wine experienced the greatest health benefit. The findings held even when the researchers factored in heart disease risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, race, education levels, exercise and cholesterol. It's important to note that fewer than one percent of the new drinkers consumed more than the recommended amount, which is equal to one or two drinks a day. The study findings were reported in the American Journal of Medicine.
source: Netscape.com

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