Whereas heavy consumption of alcohol is thought to be a risk factor for heart failure (HF) and eventual cardiomyopathy, the impact of moderate alcohol consumption on left ventricular function is unclear.
An analysis of nearly 15,000 men and women from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, published in the European Heart Journal (online, 20 January 2015)
, has found that alcohol may protect against the development of HF. After adjusting for confounding variables, people who consumed up to seven drinks per week in early-to-middle age had a significantly lower risk of developing HF compared with their teetotal counterparts.
Even people who consumed more than seven drinks per week — including very heavy drinkers — did not have an increased risk of HF compared with abstainers, although they had an increased risk of all-cause mortality.