Binge drinking in your 20s can trigger heart disease, as being young has no protective effect against alcohol
Binge drinking, even as a young student, can cause heart disease, a study has warned.
Research has found that regularly drinking large quantities of alcohol caused immediate changes in circulation that increase an otherwise healthy young adult’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life.
Regular binge drinking is one of the most serious public health problems confronting college campuses, and [thanks to them] drinking has become more pervasive and destructive,’ said Professor Shane Phillips, senior author and associate head of physical therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Regularly drinking large quantities of alcohol caused changes in circulation that increased a young adult’s risk of developing heart disease
‘Binge drinking is neurotoxic and our data support that there may be serious cardiovascular consequences in young adults.’
Surveys have shown that university students aged between 18 and 25 years old have the highest rates of binge drinking, with more than half binge drinking on a regular basis.
A recent study by University College London found that around half of all adults in the UK are binge drinkers.
Prior studies have found that binge drinking among adults age 40 to 60 years old is associated with an increase in risk of stroke, sudden cardiac death and heart attack, but the effect on younger adults had not been studied until now.
Researchers at the University of Illinois looked at two groups of healthy non-smoking students: those who had a history of binge drinking and those who abstained from alcohol.
Binge drinking was defined as consuming five or more standard sized drinks – such as a pint of beer of a medium glass of wine – in a two-hour period for males and four or more standard size drinks in a two-hour period for females.
On average, the students who binge drank did so six times a month over four years, according to the research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Those classed as abstainers were defined as having consumed no more than five drinks in the previous year.
Students were also questioned about their medical history, diet, history of family alcohol abuse and frequency of binge drinking.
The study found that the binge drinkers had impaired function in the two main cell types – endothelium and smooth muscle – that control blood flow.
These changes in cell quality were the same as those observed in individuals with a lifetime history of daily heavy alcohol consumption.
They can be a precursor for developing atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and other cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
The binge drinkers were not found to have increased blood pressure or cholesterol, which are well-established risk factors for heart disease, but both high blood pressure and cholesterol cause changes in vascular function similar to what the students demonstrated.
‘It is important that young adults understand that binge drinking patterns are an extreme form of unhealthy or at-risk drinking and are associated with serious social and medical consequences,’ said Professor Mariann Piano, co-author of the study and head of the department of biobehavioral health science at the university.
‘Discoveries and advances in many different areas of medical science have cautioned against the notion that youth protects against the adverse effects of bad lifestyle behaviours or choices.’
According to researchers, more work is needed to determine if damage caused by binge drinking in young adulthood can be reversed before the onset of cardiovascular disease and to determine the timeframe for onset of disease.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2314069/Binge-drinking-20s-triggers-beginnings-heart-disease.html#ixzz2SOnRMma3
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