A new study confirms that physically active people who have heart disease are less likely to die of heart disease or from any other cause. The same study also confirmed that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can also reduce risk of death from heart disease, though experts warn against consuming too much alcohol.
Physical activity and drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can reduce rates of death among people with heart disease, according to new heart disease reseaerch.
The study, conducted in Denmark, monitored the health of nearly 12,000 Danes already living with ischemic heart disease. During the 20 years of follow up, researchers observed 1,242 deaths caused by the participants’ heart disease. About six thousand more participants died from other causes.
Among all participants, those people who engaged in regular leisure time physical activity were less likely to suffer death from heart disease as well as death from all causes. Among the physically active, non-drinkers had the highest rate of death. All-causes of death were highest among participants who did not consume alcohol and those who were considered heavy drinkers.
A moderate amount of alcohol is defined by the American Heart Association as one drink per day for women and two drinks a day for men. In this study, researchers looked at weekly alcohol consumption. They found that moderate weekly alcohol consumption was associated with lower rates of heart-disease related death.
The American Heart Association does not recommend that people start drinking alcohol as a way to prevent heart disease. Researchers from this most recent study also acknowledged that the benefits of alcohol consumption have never been tested in clinical trials.
Experts warn against drinking too much alcohol. Excessive alcohol can increase blood pressure, risk of stroke, and cause heart failure. Alcohol can also contribute to high triglycerides, cancer, irregular heartbeats, obesity, alcoholism, suicide, and accidents.
European Heart Journal, November 2007
Washington Post, January 9, 2008