Thursday, June 08, 2006

Alcohol, the heart and gender bias

We have always been told that alcohol, like red wine, in moderation, is cardioprotective. What I did not know was whether this cardioprotection is gender bias. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal sheds light on this. The Danish researchers found that daily consumption of alcohol seems to reduce heart disease in men but not in women.

They studied the drinking habits in 50,000 males and females, age 50-65 years, and followed for 6 years. The finding was that men who drank daily had a 41% reduction in heart disease, compared to a 7% reduction in men who drank once a week. As for females, those who drank daily or weekly had a 36% reduction in heart disease. In fact there was a suggestion that in ladies, it was not the frequency of drinks but the amount they drank, that confered benefit. In this epidermiological study, the type of drinks were not specified. Females drank about five and a half drinks per week, but males took 11 drinks per week.

However, before I am accused of promoting alcoholism, it is important to mention the adverse effect of alcohol, not forgetting cancers, liver disease and of course, an increased incidence of road traffic accidents.

As always in life we must do all things in moderation.

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