A research review suggests that drinking more than six cocktails in one night may increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks over the following week.
The analysis also found that drinking even one cup could increase the risk of cardiovascular problems over the following day compared to teetotalers. Nevertheless, moderate drinkers who consume 2-4 adult beverages may actually have a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes over the next week compared to those who drink nothing.
According to lead study author Elizabeth Mostofsky of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, the effect of alcohol on drinkers’ risk of cardiovascular diseases relies on how much and how often they drink.
To see how much alcohol could influence the odds of heart attacks and strokes, data of 29,457 participants from 23 studies published between 1987 and 2015 was analyzed. In total, there were 2,599 ischemic strokes and 17,966 heart attacks. The number included 1,262 hemorrhagic strokes, a rarer type arises once a blood vessel breaks.
Moderate drinkers had about a 30% lower risk of hemorrhagic strokes and heart attacks the following day than their abstaining peers. Also, an abstemious drinker had 19% lower risk of ischemic strokes compared to non-drinkers, the study found. However, binges of 6-9 drinks linked to a 30% higher risk of cardiovascular problems the following day.
Immediately after alcohol consumption, the body has both good and bad physiologic responses, the researchers note. Among other things, one drink can increase the heart rate and cause electromechanical problems in heart function within one to three hours.
The researchers note that the body has good as well as bad physiologic responses toward immediate alcohol consumption. One drink alone can elevate the heart rate and lead to other electromechanical problems in heart function within 3 hours.
Moderate drinker also showed improvements in cardiovascular risk factors like heart rate, cholesterol levels, and blood sugars. Meanwhile, binge drinking is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, strokes, cardiovascular disease, and even death after a heart attack, the researchers added.
A limitation of the research is that it lacks data on regular heavy drinking phases and possibly underlying medical conditions of drinkers in some of the studies to affect the connection between alcohol and cardiovascular disease. Another a limitation is the lack of data on impacts of different kinds of alcohol like wine versus beer, for example.
According to Giuseppe Lippi, a researcher at the University of Verona in Italy, heavy alcohol consumption should always be stayed away, not only due to the risk of cardiovascular problems, but also as it leads to acute injury to the central nervous system and the liver. The risk of car accidents also increases together with binge drinking. Instead of heavy drinks, 2-3 cups of red wine is good for the health.