Throughout the developed world, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death and account for up to 50% of all deaths. Consistently, scientific studies are showing that consuming moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages reduces mortality from coronary heart disease as well as from other causes by 25-30% in middle-aged individuals, mainly in men aged over 40 years and in post-menopausal women.
Moderate wine drinkers have a lower mortality rate than those who abstain or drink heavily. This widely accepted association is known as the J-curve. The relative risk of dying is lowest among light to moderate drinkers and greater among abstainers. However, the risk increases with each drink above moderation. Thus, while light to moderate drinking glasses can be considered under certain circumstances “good for your health”, drinking more than the guidelines will not provide more benefits, only more harm!
If consumed in excess, alcoholic beverages increase the exposure to a wide range of risk factors whereby the risk rises with the amount of alcohol consumed. Thus, it is crucial to prevent abusive consumption. Misuse of alcoholic beverages is associated with a range of long-term chronic diseases that reduce the quality of life. These include hypertension, cardiovascular problems, cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol dependence, various forms of cancer, alcohol-related brain damage and a range of other problems.
However, besides the amount of alcohol, the drinking patterns are also important. Findings from a meta-analysis and from other studies support that binge drinking is detrimental to heart health. The authors concluded that it is best for drinkers to avoid binge drinking -- not only because of the possible heart effects, but also because of more immediate risks, like accidents and violence.
In addition to health issues resulting from the excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, there are social consequences, both for the drinker and for others in the community. The consequences include harm to family members (including children), to friends and colleagues as well as to bystanders and strangers.
Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with lower levels of coronary heart disease.
The term French paradox refers to the observation that while both the French and Americans have a diet high in saturated fats, smoke cigarettes and exercise little - all risk factors for cardiovascular disease - the French have a significantly lower risk of getting cardiovascular disease than the Americans: 36% compared to 75%.