Alcohol & Heart Health

The World Heart Federation says that even moderate alcohol consumption harms your cardiovascular health.
Red wine actually isn’t good for your heart. Really.

For the past 30 years, health experts have touted red wine (in moderation) as a heart-healthy beverage. But a January 2022 policy brief from the World Heart Federation (WHF) aims to set the record straight. No type of alcohol — including wine — is a friend to your heart.

It increases the risk of

  • hypertension
  • heart failure
  • stroke
  • cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle)
  • aortic aneurysm (a dangerous bulge in the wall of the aorta)
  • atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart rhythm)

Alcohol and your heart – some thought-provoking data
The World Heart Federation included some statistics about alcohol and health in its January 2022 policy brief, “The Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Cardiovascular Health: Myths and Measures.” Here are some of the highlights:

  • Globally, alcohol use contributed to 2.4 million deaths in 2019 — 4.3% of all deaths.
  • Some 230 diseases are linked to alcohol use.
  • Alcohol, even in small amounts, is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer. It’s also a risk factor for cancers of the mouth, throat, and liver, among others.
  • People who drink moderately are about 14% more likely to have a stroke compared with those who don’t drink at all, and also 15% more likely to suffer a fatal aortic aneurysm.
  • Alcohol use is linked to narrowing of the carotid arteries and the coronary arteries, which may lead to stroke or heart attack.

April 17, 2022

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