General Health

Moderate wine drinkers have a lower risk to die from any cause (lower total  mortality risk) than those who abstain or drink heavily. This widely accepted association is known as the J-curve. This J-curve is attributable to the beneficial effect on cardiovascular health which compensates the negative effects of some cancers resulting in a lower risk to die from any possible cause. The relative risk of dying is lowest among light to moderate drinkers and increased among abstainers. However, the risk increases dramatically with each drink above moderation. Thus, while one or two glasses can be considered “good for your health”, drinking more than what guidelines suggest 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. Alcohol abuse 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. Not only the amount of alcohol but also the drinking patterns are important. Findings from a meta analysis support results from other studies 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 excessive alcohol consumption, 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.


The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.



PURPOSE: This article estimates the effects of alcohol consumption on self-reported overall health status, injuries, heart problems, emergency room use, and hospitalizations among persons older than the age of 65. DESIGN AND METHODS: We analyzed data from the first wave of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a nationally representative study. We used multivariate regression and instrumental variables methods to study the associations between alcohol consumption (current drinking, binge drinking, and average number of drinks consumed) and several indicators of health status and health care utilization. RESULTS: Alcohol consumption by women was associated with better self-perceived health status, improved cardiovascular health, and lower rates of hospitalizations. We detected no significant negative or positive associations for older men.…
The study aims to investigate the relationship between alcohol consumption and quality of life (QoL) on a representative sample of adults aged 25-34 living in France, Italy, and the Netherlands (4,841 subjects). The data was collected in 2008 using telephone interviews and analyzed with cluster analysis using Ward's method. Results show that the impact of alcohol consumption on QoL depends mainly on predominant consumption style and drinking culture that should be investigated further to identify protective factors.
Although light to moderate alcohol intake may reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, the effect on total mortality requires further study, particularly among young and middle-aged women. We studied the association between alcohol consumption and mortality from all causes, from cancer, and from CVD in the Swedish Women's Lifestyle and Health Study, a cohort of 47,921 female residents of Sweden aged 30-49 years at baseline in 1991/1992 and followed up to 2006. We estimated the relative risk (RR) of mortality associated with alcohol intake using Cox regression adjusted for age, smoking, BMI, saturated fat intake, physical activity, and education. During 713,295 person-years of follow-up, 1,119 deaths occurred, including 158 deaths from CVD, 673 deaths from cancer, and 288 deaths from other…
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