According to new research, young men must practice extra caution when drinking alcohol, as too much of it might be associated with elevated cardiovascular risk factors.
In a new study, the systolic BP and cholesterol of binge-drinking males were about 10 points higher on average. Meanwhile, the blood sugar levels of binge-drinking females were about 10 points higher on average, according to AHA spokesperson Richard Becker. Interestingly, binge drinking showed no elevated BP or lipid levels among females.
Binge Drinking May Damage Your Heart
The study looked at 4,710 participants, 18 to 45 years old, between 2011 and 2014, all of whom answered the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study defines binge drinking as consuming seven or more alcoholic beverages in one sitting more than 12 times per year.
The researchers divided them into three groups: binge drinkers as defined above, non-binge drinkers, and binge drinkers who binge over 12 times per year. After accounting dietary changes and physical activity, both groups of male binge drinkers showed increased systolic BP and total cholesterol.
In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability. It is also on top of the list when it comes to health care costs.
Thanks to the study, the AHA can now add binge drinking as a potential heart disease risk that is preventable and easily modifiable. The message of the study, of course, is to practice moderate drinking.
Becker believes the results could lead to a potential change of policies among medical centers and other institutions.
The Youth And Alcoholic Beverages
Mariann Piano, of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing's Center for Research Development and Scholarship, says that more young people are binge-drinking than previous generations, increasing their risks for ill alcohol-related effects.
"Young adults need to be aware that the consequences of repeated binge drinking may harm their hearts. The risk extends beyond poor school performance and increased risk for accidental injury."
But there might not be a one-size-fits-all solution to proper management of alcohol drinking, according to University of Cambridge's Steven Bell, who says that not all who consume alcohol binge on it, and that health is dynamic.
"What level of alcohol consumption might be considered acceptable for one individual may not be for another," he said.