Dec 31: A new study reported in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that an occasional drink won't harm, and might even help older people with heart failure and would even help them live longer by a year than teetotalers, though qualifying that people who develop heart failure at an older age and never drank before shouldn't start drinking for health of longevity reasons
Heart failure patients who drank in moderation-defined as a drink with 12.5-13% alcohol a day for women and two for men -- had an average survival that was a year longer than non-drinkers, the researchers found.
In the study, the St. Louis team collected data on nearly 5,900 Medicare recipients who took part in a major U.S. heart health study from 1989 to 1993. Among the participants, nearly 400 developed heart failure. Taking into account factors such as age, sex, race, education, income, smoking and blood pressure, the researchers found that moderate drinkers lived an average of 383 days longer than teetotallers. For purposes of the study, "one drink" was defined as a 360 mL beer, a 175 mL glass of wine or a 45 mL glass of hard liquor.
"My patients who are newly diagnosed with heart failure often ask me if they should stop having that glass of wine every night," said senior study author Dr. David Brown, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. "And until now, I didn't have a good answer for them."
But not all cardiologists agreed with the Study’s findings. Dr. David Majure who helps direct cardiovascular care at Northwell Health's Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., was not involved in the study, was against the findings suggesting a drink or two were definitely good for heart health."We know with certainty that alcohol is a cause of heart failure. This research can at best be added to the long history of observational studies that will make the alcohol industry smile while confusing the public," he says.
"In no way should one conclude from this study that alcohol consumption of any quantity is safe or can prolong life after a diagnosis of heart failure," asserts Dr. Majure.
Even Dr. Brown and his colleagues agree that the study couldn't prove that moderate alcohol intake caused the benefit in longevity. It's possible that other factors among drinkers might be responsible, say the researchers.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart loses the ability to pump sufficient blood to the body. It can be caused by a heart attack, or by chronic conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.
Dr. Eugenia Gianos directs the Women's Heart Health program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She agreed that the study population was "small," so "I would be very hesitant to draw conclusions" about drinking from the research."It's also possible that other factors that go along with drinking alcohol -- having a social network, positive outlook, good coping mechanisms, optimal diet or active lifestyle are at play" in boosting longevity, she said.
Brown stressed that certainly, "People who develop heart failure at an older age and never drank shouldn't start drinking. Still, 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," he said in a university news release.
Source Media Reports including U.S. News
If you Like this article please click on the Like button