It’s one of the most common questions folks have after a heart attack. But also, one many hesitate to ask their doctor about
You might even be looking for an answer yourself. “Can I ever have alcohol again? ”
What makes it so frustrating is that there are no obvious answers. Doctors don’t mention it. It’s not in your hospital discharge papers. And if you Google it, you’ll discover a million different opinions leading to even more confusion and uncertainty.
But now, new research has finally delivered an answer. And if you’re someone who enjoys relaxing with a drink from time to time, I think you’re going to like what the scientists found.
The good news is if you do your drinking “right,” you might have a LOWER risk of future heart problems. Heck, researchers say you may even live LONGER as a result, too.
The bad? Well, you know how it is. Many folks simply don’t “do it right” when it comes to booze. Even when you tell them exactly how.
Is alcohol safe after a heart attack?
Some people think having a heart attack means giving up everything you love.
And certainly, it is an excellent time to reevaluate your habits. It’s the perfect opportunity to ditch the bad ones to help ensure you never have another big scare.
But you may not have to quit booze entirely. Because the new study finds a drink now and again won’t hurt you. In fact, it might actually have some health benefits.
The key appears to be the amount of alcohol you drink. The study found maximum protection is reached at an average of six to eight grams of alcohol per day.
A single beer or a standard glass of wine has approximately 14 grams of alcohol. So the biggest “protection zone” is roughly two to four drinks a week.
But each amount was associated with a different benefit:
- Six grams a day, or a little more than two drinks a week, was linked to an incredible 50 percent plunge in the risk of a second heart attack, angina, or stroke.
- Seven grams a day, or roughly three drinks a week, was associated with a drop of 21 percent in the risk of death from all causes.
- Eight grams a day, or nearly four drinks a week, was linked to a 27 percent reduction in the odds of death from cardiovascular problems.
Folks who stray beyond those amounts all the way up to a single drink a night appear to still get some protection. Just not as much. And beyond that, any benefit fades.
Make it moderate to claim benefits
The study didn’t go much further. But we know from previous research that heavier drinking will lead to higher risks instead of benefits. And not just from heart problems, either.
Heavy drinking has been linked to cancer as well. Plus, overdoing the booze can mess with your immune system, as I explained in a Healthier Talk last year.
If you don’t already drink alcohol, this is NOT a reason to start. And if you drink too much, the best thing you can do for your health is to quit.
But if you’re a light to moderate drinker with no booze-related health restrictions, it looks like it’s bottoms up. You can enjoy a glass of wine or can of beer with dinner in good conscience AND good health.