Women Who Drink More Than 8 Drinks a Week Have a Higher Risk of Heart Disease: Study

A Kaiser Permanente Northern California study found that binge drinking more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day puts women at a higher risk for heart disease

<p>monkeybusinessimages/Getty</p> People toasting drinks


People toasting drinks

A new study has found that women who drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day are more likely to develop heart disease.

Doctora from Kaiser Permanente Northern California used data from over 430,000 adults in the healthcare system to research their alcohol intake and coronary heart disease diagnoses as a part of their study on drinking and its effects on the body.

Women included in the data who said they drink eight or more alcoholic drinks per week were anywhere from 33 to 51% more likely to develop coronary heart disease, also called coronary artery disease, according to the Washington Post. The study also found that binge drinking had a significant impact — women who drank more than three alcoholic drinks in a day were 68% more likely to get heart disease than those who didn't.

According to the Mayo Clinic, coronary heart disease is a common heart condition that occurs when a person's coronary arteries become filled with cholesterol deposits and plaque. Blood, oxygen and nutrients then can't flow as freely to the heart, and this reduced blood flow can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain and, in cases of a complete blockage, a heart attack.

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“There has been an increasing prevalence of alcohol use among young and middle-aged women as women may feel they’re protected against heart disease until they’re older, but this study shows that even in that age group, women who drink more than the recommended amount of one drink per day or tend to binge drink, are at risk for coronary heart disease,” the study's author and cardiologist Jamal Rana wrote to the Post in an email.

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The healthcare company conducted its study by collecting data from patients about their alcohol intake in 2014 and 2015 and then studied their heart health and drinking habits for four years.

In the years after the patients' initial reports about their alcohol intake, over 3,100 of them were diagnosed with coronary heart disease. According to the Post, patients who reported binge drinking were the most impacted.

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is set to be presented in April at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session.

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According to the CDC, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for women in the United States, and coronary artery disease takes the top spot within the heart disease category. The organization already recommends that women limit their alcohol intake to one drink per day to reduce the risk of heart disease.

The CDC also recommends several other ways for women to reduce their risk for heart disease, including getting tested for diabetes, quitting smoking, getting routine blood pressure checks, managing stress, eating healthy and getting 150 minutes of exercise per week.

"There has long been this idea that alcohol is good for the heart," Rana added to the Post, "but more and more evidence is challenging that notion."

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