(HealthDay News) — Among individuals with cardiovascular disease, alcohol consumption is associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality and cardiovascular events in a J-shaped manner relative to nondrinkers, according to research published online in BMC Medicine.

Chengyi Ding, from University College London, and colleagues assessed alcohol consumption with respect to all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and subsequent cardiovascular events in an analysis of 14,386 patients with previous myocardial infarction, angina, or stroke from the UK Biobank Study (1640 deaths; 2950 subsequent events); 2802 patients from the Health Survey for England (1257 deaths); and 3 waves of the Scottish Health Survey. This was augmented with findings from 12 published studies, including data on 31,235 patients, 5095 deaths, and 1414 subsequent events. The combined sample included 48,423 patients.

The researchers found that alcohol consumption was associated with all assessed outcomes in a J-shaped manner relative to current nondrinkers; the risk reduction peaked at 7, 8, and 6 g/day for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cardiovascular events, respectively (relative risks, 0.79, 0.73, and 0.50, respectively) and remained significant up to 62, 50, and 15 g/day, respectively. Reductions in risk among light-to-moderate drinkers were attenuated in the few studies that excluded former drinkers for the nondrinking reference group.

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“Our findings suggest that people with CVD may not need to stop drinking in order to prevent additional heart attacks, strokes, or angina, but that they may wish to consider lowering their weekly alcohol intake,” Ding said in a statement.

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