Heavy drinking may age arteries

By CARLOS MUREITHI
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Heavy alcohol drinkling habits over the years may prematurely age arteries, especially in men, putting them at an increased risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association wrote on its website on Tuesday, citing a new British research in its journal with the American Stroke Association.

Drinking too much can affect the elasticity of the arterial walls – arterial stiffness – and prematurely age the arteries, interfering with blood flow. Moreover, researchers found that male former drinkers were at risk of accelerated rates of arterial stiffness compared to moderate drinkers who were in early old age. This observation was not found in females; the study had 3,869 participants, of which 73 per cent were male.

The question is how much alcohol is too much and at what point does it start to cause damage to the arteries?

Consistent long-term, heavy drinking was defined in this British study as more than 112g of ethanol per week – or 14 British units, where one unit is roughly equivalent to one serving of alcoholic spirit, half a pint of beer, or half a glass of wine. Consistent moderate drinking was defined as 1 to 112 grams of ethanol per week.

Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of alcohol dependency, cardiovascular risk factors including high blood pressure and obesity, stroke, certain types of cancer, suicide and accidents.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide, contributing to nearly…

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