Monday, July 16, 2007

Alcohol for the heart? Not if you smoke!

alcohol and smoking
Medical studies can be dangerous. For example if you take for granted that something that has proven to be beneficial in a medical study also must be beneficial for you. Today I present you such a case. Much has been written about alcohol and the heart, but I strongly advise you to forget all you may have read if you are a smoker.

There are many many studies (I really cannot count them, let alone review them here) about alcohol and the risk of a heart attack. Most of them come to the conclusion that moderate consumption of alcohol reduces the heart attack risk.

There are also many many studies (let even more alone to review) about smoking and the risk of a heart attack: Smoking is one of the major and best proven risk factors.

Now, you may try to be smart and fight the tobacco risk with the alcohol benefit. Nothing could be more wrong, according to a study of the Shanghai Cancer Institute, based upon data of more than sixty thousand men.

The results show that moderate alcohol intake reduces the heart attack risk only in nonsmokers. This beneficial effect disappears with even moderate smoking. When more tobacco is smoked, the effect turns to the worse: Even moderate alcohol intake now increases the heart attack risk.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/cascadefoto/407586102/

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