Harvard Men's Health Watch

Moderate alcohol after a heart attack does no harm and may help

In a recent study from the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, a group of about 1,800 men who survived heart attacks and continued to consume alcohol moderately (up to two drinks a day) were less likely to die from heart disease or other causes than men who didn't drink at all or drink more than two drinks a day. Dr. Jennifer Pai, assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues published the finding in the European Heart Journal.

The study offers some reassurance to men who would like to continue to imbibe after a cardiac crisis, but it is neither an "all clear" for them nor a justification to start drinking if one isn't already. That said, the finding is certainly consistent with previous studies of healthy people that suggest a modest benefit to moderate drinking.

The medical definition of "a drink" is 1.5 ounces (1 shot glass) of 80-proof spirits, a 5-ounce serving of table wine, or a 12-ounce serving of beer.

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