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Light Drinkers Less Prone to Heart Disease

March 17, 1985|United Press International

ANAHEIM — People who drink alcoholic beverages in moderate amounts are less likely to suffer coronary heart disease than teetotalers, a study showed.

Dr. Arthur Klatsky, chief of cardiology at Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, cautioned that heavy drinkers should not use his findings to justify their habit, which is harmful in other ways.

Klatsky told a session of the American College of Cardiology last week that a study of 100,000 Americans showed that alcohol is not likely to cause coronary artery disease.

"Abstainers are at greater risk," he said. "The question is why.

"If there is a truly protective mechanism in drinking alcohol, such protection is at lower levels, such as one to two drinks per day," he said.

Klatsky stressed that he does not advise the nondrinker with good reasons for not drinking to start imbibing periodically.

"While it is true there are a lot of problem drinkers, the vast majority of drinkers are lighter drinkers who can control their drinking," he said. "Such persons are a large majority of the persons whose habits are associated with a lower risk of coronary disease."

There are multiple theories for the relationship, but no positive proof, he said.

Klatsky's work also showed that the type of alcoholic beverage consumed played no significant role in protection from coronary disease. However, previous research has suggested that wine drinkers fared best.

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