Older patients of heart attack may benefit from moderate daily drinking: study


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SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Patients aged 65 or older who are newly diagnosed with heart failure may have a longer survival rate than those who never drink at all if they live on a habit of drinking one or two serving of wine every day, the School of Medicine of Washington University (WU) on the western U.S. coast said in the latest study.

WU researchers examined data from a past study conducted from 1989 to 1993, which included 5,888 adults on Medicare, and discovered a link between consuming seven or fewer drinks per week and an extended survival rate of over one year, in comparison with the long-term abstainers.

Their study, which was published in the latest edition of JAMA Network Open, suggested that new older patients of heart failure can safely go on with their habit of drinking in moderate amounts, about one serving of alcohol per day for women and two for men.

Among those patients surveyed in the study, they had an average of 383 days in extended survival rate, and they were 79 years old on average, with slightly more of them being women and 86 percent being white.

"Our study suggests people who have had a daily drink or two before their diagnosis of heart failure can continue to do so without concern that it's causing harm," said the study's senior author and cardiologist David L. Brown, who is a professor of medicine at Washington University.

However, he said people who develop heart failure at an older age but have never been alcohol consumers shouldn't start drinking because the study has not yet established cause and effect between moderate drinking and longer survival rate.

There is also no evidence supporting the idea that nondrinkers with heart failure will benefit if they begin drinking a moderate amount of alcohol, and if they do want to drink, they should check with their doctors for consultation, the study said.

It is widely known that excessive drinking has toxic effects that can cause heart failure, which is triggered by the loss of ability to pump sufficient blood to the body or chronic conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease, according to the study.