The supposed link between cardiovascular diseases and alcohol consumption has been a hot topic of debate. Multiple studies have been conducted on the subject, and researchers are divided over whether drinking in moderation is healthy or not.
According to a new study, consumption of alcohol in moderation can reduce the risk of some heart conditions.
"Moderate drinking is thought to be associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared with abstinence or heavy drinking," shared the researchers.
How Was The Study Conducted?
Researchers from University College London and University of Cambridge conducted a study to test their theory. The primary goal of the study was to examine if a link existed between alcohol consumption and 12 cardiovascular diseases.
To test the hypothesis, the researchers analyzed the electronic health records of 1.93 million people in the UK who were above 30.
For the purpose of the study, the data resource dubbed ClinicAl research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records (CALIBER) was used.
At the beginning of the study, all the participants were free from any cardiovascular disease. Those who did not drink were segregated from those who drank occasionally and those who were former drinkers. This separation was done to get more clarity on the subject.
Can Moderate Drinking Reduce Risks?
After extensive research, the researchers discovered that moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular conditions. They also deduced that moderate drinkers were less likely to see a doctor, or a medical practitioner, for heart failure, angina, aneurysm, ischaemic stroke, and other heart-related issues.
However, the researchers caution people not to misconstrue the results and start drinking alcohol. The team asserts that there are other more effective ways to ensure a healthy heart, such as regular physical activity and diet control.
The researchers also sensibly pointed out that the risk of developing any heart disease is reduced by moderate alcohol consumption, not entirely eliminated.
The study has been criticized by some in the scientific community, especially the procedure which was undertaken to arrive at the findings. The experts underlined shortcomings such as the fact that non-drinkers were grouped with former drinkers. This may possibly lead to skewed findings as the latter may have kicked the habit post health concerns.
Despite the criticism, researchers believe that this research has set the stage for sophisticated studies, which will attempt to "harness the flood of big data" into reliable and balanced findings. This would aid the betterment of public health in the near future.
This study has been published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).