You might want to tell Grandma to ease up on her ‘cough medicine.’ At least, that’s what a new study suggests. Researchers studied 4,446 people with the average age of 76. Hot damn, where’s the bingo table?

The findings? Consuming two or more alcoholic beverages per day may damage your heart. No offense, but at 76, doesn’t damn near everything damage your heart? Gramps could be watching Wheel of Fortune. Some moron buys another vowel, and he’s done.

Grandma? The stress of putting up with her crazy husband for 50+ years is enough to drive her to drink. Or, spike grandpa’s coffee.

The research, in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, examined the structure and motion of various parts of the heart. Led by Dr. Alexandra Gonçalves, the team found the following:

  • The more people drank, the greater the subtle changes to the heart’s structure and function.
  • Among men, drinking more than 14 alcoholic beverages weekly (heavy drinking) was linked with enlargement of the wall of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricular mass).
  • Among women, moderate drinkers had small reductions in heart function.

The research is in line with previous studies recommending moderate alcohol intake. The more you drink, the greater the risk of cardiomyopathy – a condition where the heart muscle becomes larger, more rigid or replaced by scar tissue.

“In spite of potential benefits of low alcohol intake, our findings highlight the possible hazards to cardiac structure and function by increased amounts of alcohol consumption in the elderly, particularly among women. This reinforces the U.S. recommendations stating that those who drink should do so with moderation,” said Gonçalves.

Defining Moderate Drinking

According to the AHA and 2010 U.S. dietary guidelines, men can have up to two drinks per day. Doctors recommend women limit their alcohol consumption to one drink per day.

The average age in the study showed the cumulative effects of alcohol consumption over decades. It should serve to reinforce to people my age to ease up.

alcohol and heart health

Dr. Scott Solomon, a senior author of the study, remarked on how much is too much.

“What is clear is that at more than two drinks a day is the point at which we start to think we are beyond the safe level for men, and with women, it’s likely to be even lower than that.”

Still, when you are rocking at 76, are you overly concerned you had three drinks today? When you were young, you walked 10 miles to school uphill, both ways. Crack open a cold one. Pour one for Grandma and enjoy life.

The old codgers still tossing back drinks like it’s college? I think they are past the age of googling symptoms and treatment for cardiomyopathy.

For those of you with grandparents, here’s another health tip. Lock the liquor cabinet. It’ll keep their heart healthier and prevent any unseemly holiday dinners.

Trust me.


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