Ask the doctor: Can drinking red wine prevent heart disease?

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Q. I've heard that red wine can prevent heart disease. Is that an old wives' tale?

A. There's a lot of evidence indicating that it's true. Large observational studies indicate that the most common kind of heart disease, coronary artery disease, is less likely in moderate drinkers than in people who do not drink. Moderate drinkers are men who take one or two alcoholic drinks per day and women who take one drink per day. On the other hand, people who are heavier drinkers have a higher risk of other types of heart disease, particularly cardiomyopathy that leads to heart failure. They also have more strokes. So too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

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