Saturday, March 15, 2008

On the dangers of not drinking

This from Dr Jane Østergaard Pedersen National Institute of Public Health, Copenhagen:

Another important finding is that physical activity can reverse some of the adverse health effects associated with alcohol abstention. People who did not drink but whose physical activity was moderate or high had a lower risk of IHD [ischemic heart disease] than the inactive nondrinkers.

I just told a group of nurses yesterday that while moderate alcohol intake (from 1-14 drinks/week) decreased risk of heart disease and raised levels of HDL-cholesterol, we were not yet recommending that non-drinkers consider drinking. These Danish researchers analyzed 20 years of data from nearly 20,000 persons enrolled in the Copenhagen City Heart Study. They found that mortality from ischemic heart disease and all cause mortality dropped with physical activity or moderate drinking, but dropped most with those Danes who celebrated their post-exercise glow with a beer or two.

Pedersen concludes: "The lowest risk of death from all causes was observed among the physically active moderate drinkers and the highest risk as seen among the physically inactive non- and heavy drinkers."

So drink a little, move a lot. And if you don't drink, you gotta' move!
1. Østergaard Pedersen J, et al. The combined influence of leisure-time physical activity and weekly alcohol intake on fatal ischaemic heart disease and all-cause mortality. Eur Heart J. 2008; DOI:10.1093/eurheartj/ehm574.


kenju said...

LOL....sounds like good advice to me!

Elaine said...

Well I must be doing something right. My latest labs were HDL 114, Triglycerides 67. Must be the heart healthy red wine ;-)

james said...

This sounds interesting..
i just wanted to inquire that i am suffering from chronic fatigue disease and i do not drink alchohal....can consumption of alchohal help in curing this disease?
keep up the good work,

Mauigirl said...

James, having had chronic fatigue syndrome myself, I don't think drinking alcohol will actually cure the disease - but you do enjoy your life more when you're doing it! I had CFS for about three years but luckily it subsided after that. I think I still get a "touch" of the symptoms from time to time if I'm overtired but basically am back to normal.

Sadly I no longer drink, as I am a survivor of oral cancer and was told it is a risk factor. I'm wondering if I should consider one glass of wine a day after I'm past the 5-year mark of "cure"? I certainly don't exercise!

However, my cholesterol and other markers are all normal or below even without alcohol. I think it's genetic - my mom is always right on target for those things.