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Friday, October 21, 2011

Binge drinking, drinking frequency, and risk of ischaemic heart disease: A population-based cohort study

Light-to-moderate alcohol drinking is associated with a decreased risk of ischaemic heart disease (IHD). However, drinking heavily and in binges has been suggested to increase IHD risk. This complexity makes the issue of binge drinking within the light-to-moderate alcohol range an important area for further investigation.

This population-based cohort study included 26,786 men and women who participated in the Danish National Cohort Study in 1994, 2000, and 2005. Binge drinking (defined >5 drinks/day) and risk of IHD and all-cause mortality was investigated among light-to-moderate drinkers (defined ≤21 and ≤14 drinks/week for men and women, respectively). In the entire study population, we investigated the association between drinking frequency, separately and combined with total weekly alcohol intake, and risk of IHD and all-cause mortality.

1136 individuals developed IHD during a mean follow up of 6.9 years. Among male light-to-moderate drinkers reporting occasional binge drinking, the hazard ratio (HR) of IHD was 0.81 (95% CI 0.61–1.08) compared to male light-to-moderate drinkers reporting no binge drinking. Corresponding HR for women was 0.97 (95% CI 0.54–1.76). For women drinking 5–6 days/week, the risk of IHD was lower than for women drinking 1–2 days/week (HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.32–0.90). We did not observe any patterns when looking at combinations of total weekly alcohol intake and drinking frequency.

Among light-to-moderate alcohol drinkers, binge drinking was not associated with risk of IHD and all-cause mortality. Overall, drinking frequency did not appear to be an important determinant of the risk of IHD and all-cause mortality.

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