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Heart Health

A daily drink: Not as harmless as you might think

July 1, 2022

Contrary to popular belief, even modest amounts of alcohol may raise heart disease risk.

photo of a mature woman at home with a glass of red wine, looking serious and concerned

In recent years, the long-held notion that alcohol is good for your heart has slowly started to dry up. Now, a new study suggests that any amount of alcohol — even just one drink per day — may raise rather than lower a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

"We found that along the entire spectrum of alcohol consumption, the risk of high blood pressure and coronary artery disease increases rather than decreases," says Dr. Krishna Aragam, a cardiologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and the study’s lead author. But the amount matters quite a bit, he says. If you have up to seven drinks per week, the added risk to your heart appears to be minimal. If you go above that amount, however, the risk rises exponentially (see "What is a standard drink?").

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