A new study from the Harvard Medical School, targeting alcohol intake in the elderly age group found that even moderate drinking can lead to heart alterations.
Moderate drinking is not the same as low. And for the elderly this could make a significant difference.
For their study, the research team gathered the self-reported records of drinking from 4,400 adults over the age of 75. Then, the conditions of their hearts were carefully monitored with the use of echocardiograms.
The researchers were interested in how well the heart is functioning, the sizes of the heart, as well as the structure.
Other factors were included in the study to accurately edge the results. Smoking, financial situation, previous medical conditions were all assessed.
According to the self-reported amounts of alcohol intake, the participants were split into four groups. The first group was formed by the non-drinking women and men participating in the study.
Secondly, there were low level drinkers, with a reported alcohol intake of less than seven drinks on a weekly basis.
The third group reported having between seven and fourteen drinks on a weekly basis. The fourth took one too many glasses, with a reported number of over 14 alcoholic beverages consumed per week.
Proportionally with the number of weekly drinks, the researchers found that heart damage increased. Higher levels of alcohol intake lead to the expansion of the left ventricle of the heart for both population segments.
However, men who take more than 14 drinks per week are decidedly more prone to this negative aspect. Women on the other hand are more prone to ejection fraction of the above-mentioned left ventricle.
The medical complication entails that blood becomes harder to pump, resulting in a great strain on the left ventricle. And this happens just from one alcoholic beverage per day. The higher the alcohol intake is, the higher the risks of cardiac complications.
There is no questioning towards the fact that high levels of alcohol consumption lead to a wide variety of health complications, particularly for the elder.
Yet, the study hopes to draw the attention on the fact that even what is perceived to be moderate drinking is not the healthiest habit for the elderly.
Of course, a glass of wine and some other drinks are recommended by doctors across the world. The keyword however is moderation. Moderation adapted to specific age conditions.
The results of the study were published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging journal.
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