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Risk for CHD Higher for Women who Binge Drink vs Men: Daily Dose

Risk for CHD Higher for Women who Binge Drink vs Men: Daily Dose / Image Credit: ©New Africa/AdobeStock
©New Africa/AdobeStock

Patient Care brings primary care clinicians a lot of medical news every day—it’s easy to miss an important study. The Daily Dose provides a concise summary of one of the website's leading stories you may not have seen.

Last week, we reported on findings from a study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 73rd Annual Scientific Session, held April 6-8, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia, that examined the association between alcohol intake and heart disease.

The study

The study included 432 265 members of Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) aged 18 to 65 years who did not have a history of heart disease or stroke. The study population had a mean age of 44 years and was 43% women. All participants were asked about alcohol use during a primary care visit as part of KPNC’s standard “Alcohol as a Vital Sign” screening initiative, between 2014 and 2015. Researchers analyzed the relationship between level of alcohol intake and coronary heart disease (CHD) diagnoses during a 4-year follow-up period based on inpatient ICD diagnoses of my myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease and stroke.

Participant's overall alcohol intake was categorized, based on self-report, as:

  • low - 1-2 drinks/week for both men and women

  • moderate - 3-14 drinks/week for men, 3-7 for women

  • high - 15 or more drinks/week for men, 8 or more for women

Researchers further categorized participants as engaging or not engaging in binge drinking, defined as more than 4 drinks for men or more than 3 drinks for women in a single day in the past 3 months.

The findings

Overall, 3108 study participants were diagnosed with CHD over the 4-year follow-up, with a linear relationship observed between heart disease and alcohol consumption.

Women who reported drinking 8 or more alcoholic beverages per week, on average, were between 33% and 51% more likely to develop CHD compared with those who drank less.

The risk for CHD among both men and women was highest for study participants who reported heavy episodic or binge drinking. Women in this category, however, were more than 2-fold more likely than men (68% vs 33%) to develop heart disease than their respective contemporaries who reported moderate intake.

Authors' comment

"When it comes to heart disease, the number one thing that comes to mind is smoking, and we do not think about alcohol as one of the vital signs. I think a lot more awareness is needed, and alcohol should be part of routine health assessments moving forward. Our findings suggest that as doctors we need to be doing more to talk to our patients — especially our female patients — about the potential heart risks associated with excess and binge drinking.”

Click here for more details.

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