March 03, 2016

Binge drinking increases heart attack risk in the next 24 hours, study finds

Moderate drinking, however, appears to reduce heart attack risk

Having a glass or two of red wine at dinner can be good for your health — but don't reach for the whole bottle.

Researchers in Boston have found that while moderate drinking can help with cardiovascular health, binge drinking appears to increase the risk that you'll suffer a heart attack or stroke the next day.

As Reuters reported, the scientists performed a meta-analysis of nearly two dozen previous studies with a combined total of almost 30,000 participants. They looked at research as recent as 2015 and as far back as 1987.

The results: Enjoy two to four drinks, and for the next 24 hours, you'll have a 30 percent lower risk of suffering a heart attack or a burst blood vessel in the brain, compared to not drinking at all. Guzzle down six drinks or more, and you'll increase your risk of heart attack and stroke by the same amount.

Of course, on any given day, the odds of having a heart attack are low to begin with. The study did not look at the long-term effects of moderate drinking and also does not look into how wine or beer might affect the body differently than spirits.

Still, the research shows that alcohol can have an immediate effect on the heart. Whether that effect is good or bad depends on how much you're drinking. 

Read the full story here.