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24 November 2010
Drinking lots of alcohol over a short period of time could increase your risk of dying from heart disease compared to drinking the same amount over a longer period, according to a new study.
The research compared drinking habits in France and Northern Ireland and found drinkers in both countries were likely to consume roughly the same amount of alcohol each week but those in Belfast would drink it over a much shorter time.
Researchers concluded that men who were "binge" drinkers had nearly twice the risk of suffering a heart attack or dying from heart disease compared to more regular drinkers.
Amy Thompson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said:
"This reinforces what we already know - that drinking high levels of alcohol can be harmful to your heart.
"It's important to avoid binge drinking and it’s better to have a small amount of alcohol regularly rather than large amounts in one go.
"If you do drink, it’s important to keep within the recommended limits. Women should not regularly drink more than two to three units a day and men should not regularly drink more than three to four units a day."
The research was published in the British Medical Journal and involved studying the effects of alcohol on more than 9,700 men over a 10 year period.
Comment issued in response to ‘Patterns of alcohol consumption and ischaemic heart disease in culturally divergent countries: the Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction’, Jean-Bernard Ruidavets et al, British Medical Journal, BMJ 2010;341:c6077 doi:10.1136/bmj.c6077, November 2010.