The risk of developing strokes and heart attacks may double within just an hour after consuming alcohol, a new study has found.
Time is of the essence with alcohol consumption. This is because moderate and heavy drinking paves way for different levels of short-term and long-terms risks and effects.
Link Between Alcohol Consumption And Time
In the past, studies have pointed out the possible risks to heart health after drinking alcohol moderately and heavily. However, the risks that immediately follow alcohol consumption have not yet been well recorded.
Study author Elizabeth Mostofsky says their work is the first to combine all the existing data to learn new information about the risk of heart attacks and strokes, just hours after drinking. Aside from that, this study will identify the risks of drinking varied amounts of alcohol even after the following week.
Looking into the physical impacts of drinking, alcohol does appear to have apparent differences in effects on immediate and long standing basis.
In this new study, the authors were indeed able to prove it.
The scientists have examined proof on the risk of stroke and heart attack, hours and days after consuming alcohol. They specifically looked at 23 studies that entailed almost 30,000 study subjects.
The findings of the study show that alcohol may cause both immediate hazards and protective physical responses.
Within one to three hours of consumption, participants exhibited increased heart rate and disrupted heart pacing after drinking a single dose of alcohol. However, those who drank moderately experienced improved blood circulation and blood vessel function; and showed decreased blood clotting within 24 hours of alcohol consumption.
Within the week, moderate drinkers or those who drink up to six drinks per week have showed lower risk of strokes from clots.
Heavy alcohol drinking was linked with increased risks of stroke and heart attack throughout all the time periods. The risks were doubled for those who drink six to nine drinks per day and increased to six times more for those who consume 19 to 30 drinks per week.
Protective Mechanisms, Also Present
Despite the negative immediate effects of alcohol, the authors were able to identify a silver lining. People who drink moderately were found to lessen their risks of stroke and heart attack and even develop protective mechanisms.
Mostofsky says blood pressure shoots up immediately after drinking and platelets becomes stickier thus, increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. However, she adds that long-term and regular small doses of alcohol may result in increased HDL or good cholesterol and decreased risk to form blood clots.
The risks on heavy drinkers, however, remain high.
With the results of the study, the ultimate advice then becomes clear: alcohol drinking is all about knowing when to stop.
"If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation," says study author Elizabeth Mostofsky form the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study was published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation on Mar. 2 and was presented in the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions.