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A tipple good for the ticker say experts

Press Association logoPress Association 23/03/2017 Jane Kirby

Moderate drinking can cut the risk of suffering a heart attack, angina or heart failure, though taking up exercise is better for you, experts say.

A new study of 1.93 million people in the UK suggests drinking in moderation, classed as having no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, offers a protective effect for the heart compared with not drinking.

Previous studies have suggested that alcohol has a positive effect on the levels of "good" cholesterol in the blood as well as proteins associated with blood clotting.

The new study, published in the British Medical Journal, found moderate drinkers were less likely to turn up at their doctor suffering from angina, heart attack, heart failure, ischaemic stroke and aortic aneurysm than non-drinkers.

But the research found heavy drinking, more than 14 units, increased the risk of heart failure, a cardiac arrest, ischaemic stroke and circulation problems caused by fatty arteries.

The authors, from the University of Cambridge and University College London, welcomed the findings but said it would be unwise to encourage individuals to take up drinking as a means of lowering their risk.

"This is because there are arguably safer and more effective ways of reducing cardiovascular risk, such as increasing physical activity and smoking cessation, which do not incur increased risks of alcohol-related harm such as alcohol dependence, liver disease and cancer."

The authors said it was an observational study, so no definite conclusions could be drawn, but the research was in line with previous studies.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said, it was not possible to draw firm conclusions from the study about cause and effect between moderate alcohol consumption and heart health.

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