Cancer and Heart Health Risks Associated with Alcohol Consumption
Many of us have heard that moderate drinking is actually beneficial to our health. Stories in the media like these from ABC News, Reuters, and CBS News all claim a lower risk of heart failure or a better chance of surviving a heart attack for those who drink in moderation.
Is drinking in moderation really healthy though? Does drinking increase heart health? Even if it is heart healthy, what about other health effects like cancer risks with alcohol consumption? These are the questions you should be asking yourself before you pick up that beverage at night or during a night on the town.
Alcohol and Atrial Fibrillation Risk
The heart healthy aspect of moderate drinking actually came under fire in a 2016 article in the Journal of the American Heart Association. In this article, the more alcohol an individual drank the higher their risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a common heart arrhythmia.
Drinking 10 gm (slightly less than one drink) per day increased the risk of new-onset atrial fibrillation by 5%. Atrial fibrillation puts people at risk for blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. Any reduced risk of heart failure or increased chance of surviving a heart attack previously reported in studies may not be worth the risk for some people. You have to decide this for yourself.
Alcohol and Cancer Risk
Alcohol has long been noted to increase the risk of several types of cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research recognizes this and recommends not to drink alcohol at all to prevent cancer.
I’ve found several studies linking alcohol to various cancers, including liver, breast, prostate, esophageal, and stomach just to name a few. For a more extensive look at this please visit my page on alcohol consumption.
In the end, we all need to make the decision we feel is best for our lifestyle. Some people may choose to drink daily, others once a week, and still other people may choose to abstain completely from alcohol.
What’s important is that you are aware of the facts surrounding health and alcohol consumption so you can make an informed decision on your future and your health going forward.
Wish you all my best in your journey towards optimal health!
Dustin Rudolph, PharmD, BCPS