Binge drinking linked with higher heart attack risk

People who binge drink are 72% more likely to have a heart attack than those who don’t, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Researchers looked at interview data from nearly 4,000 people across the U.S. hospitalized for heart attacks from 1989–1986. They looked at the number of alcoholic drinks participants drank in the hour before their heart attack symptoms appeared as well as how much alcohol they drank in the past year.

Gin, vodka, and whiskey appeared to pose the greatest risk while beer and wine posed less risk, the researchers found. In addition, drinking small amounts of alcohol frequently—as opposed to large amounts over a short time (binge drinking)—appeared to protect against cardiac problems.

The study appeared in the March 2015 issue of the journal Epidemiology. Harvard Chan authors included lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky, instructor, and senior author Murray Mittleman, associate professor, both in the Department of Epidemiology; Kenneth Mukamal, visiting scientist at Harvard Chan; and K. Malcolm Maclure, adjunct professor of epidemiology.

Read a BostInno article about the study: Binge Drinking Increases Risk of Heart Attack More than 70%, Harvard Says

Read the abstract: Risk of Myocardial Infarction Immediately After Alcohol Consumption

Learn more

Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits (The Nutrition Source)