“Drink-a-day” might not be so healthy for elderly women

Emily Berl/The New York Times

We’ve all heard the popular recommendation that one or two servings of alcohol every day could be beneficial for the heart. A new study by Harvard Medical School, however,  testing the effect of alcohol consumption on 4,466 older people, showed that drinking just one alcoholic beverage daily resulted in small, but damaging changes to the heart. Elderly women particularly seemed susceptible to the cardiotoxic effects of alcohol consumption. Just one drink a day for elderly women exposed them to double the risk faced by men of the same age. While the study might shine a light on the dangers of alcohol consumption for the elderly, it also appears to contradict most previous research. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, more than 100 prospective studies show that moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular issues. “The effect is fairly consistent, corresponding to a 25 percent to 40 percent reduction in risk,” Dr. Alexandra Gonçalves, who led the study, said. “In spite of potential benefits of low alcohol intake, our findings highlight the possible hazards to cardiac structure and function by increased amounts of alcohol consumption in the elderly, particularly among women. This reinforces the U.S. recommendations stating that those who drink should do so with moderation.”

Read the full story at The Telegraph.

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