A tipple a day keeps the cardiologist away.
Regular and moderate drinking throughout the week confers a low risk of IHD whereas binge drinking is associated with a higher risk, a study comparing drinking habits in France and the UK has found. Binge drinkers had almost twice the risk of MI or coronary death compared with regular drinkers. The Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction (PRIME) study, in the BMJ, investigated the effects of alcohol intake patterns on the incidence of IHD in two countries with contrasting lifestyles. Overall, 683 of the 9,778 (7.0%) participants experienced IHD events during the 10 year follow-up of which 322 (3.3%) were hard coronary events and 361(3.7%) angina events. The annual incidence of hard coronary events per 1,000 person years was 5.63 in Belfast and 2.78 in France. After adjustment for classic cardiovascular risk factors and centre, although interestingly not for diet, the hazard ratio for hard coronary events for binge drinkers compared with regular drinkers was 1.97 The hazard ratio for never drinkers compared with regular drinkers was 2.03 and 1.57 for former drinkers compared with regular drinkers.