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Binge drinking increases heart attack risk

Binge drinking increases heart attack risk

It's widely known that indulging in large quantities of alcohol at once isn't good for the body, but now a stark warning about binge drinking has been delivered. Scientists led by a team at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, America, have found that people who imbibe large amounts at once are over 70 per cent more likely to have a heart attack.

The most hazardous period is the first hour of drinking, and it's worst for people who don't indulge during the week but have a blowout when Friday night rolls around. On top of that, the kind of alcohol consumed seems to have some impact. Wine and beer didn't seem to pose as much of a risk, with spirits including vodka and whiskey the worst.

The findings also suggest that having a drink each day doesn't increase the risk of heart attack.

The team included researchers from the US, Canada, the Netherlands and Australia and looked at almost 4,000 people Stateside who had suffered a heart attack. The amount of alcohol consumed before they fell ill was investigated, as well as whether this was out of the ordinary for them or generally consistent with their habits.

It was discovered that binge drinking made the risk of having a heart attack jump by 72 per cent in the first hour of consumption, with the findings published in the journal Epidemiology. After three hours things aren't so bad, and a day later the level had completely returned to normal.

It's not immediately clear why there was a difference in the risk factor depending on the drinks consumed, although the study mooted whether spirit drinkers tend to down more than those who sip pints or wine.

The study underlines the importance of sticking to daily alcohol recommendations, which in the UK are 2 - 3 units, or a standard glass of wine, daily for women and 3 - 4, or a strong pint of beer, for men.

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