A daily glass of small wine or half a pint of beer doesn’t appear harmful for pensioners with heart failure and actually helps them live longer, a new study revealed.
The over 65s who drink moderately live more than a year longer than those who give up the booze completely following a heart failure diagnosis, a new study has found.
The findings suggested drinking moderately was safe for patients – but cardiologists warned their data was observational and did not establish a cause and effect link.
It can be triggered by a heart attack or other chronic conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.
Senior author, Professor of Medicine David Brown at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis said: ‘My patients who are newly diagnosed with heart failure often ask me if they should stop having that glass of wine every night.
‘And until now, I didn’t have a good answer for them.
‘We have long known that the toxic effects of excessive drinking can contribute to heart failure.
‘In contrast, we have data showing that healthy people who drink moderately seem to have some protection from heart failure over the long term, compared with people who don’t drink at all.
‘But there was very little, if any, data to help us advise people who drink moderately and have just been diagnosed with heart failure.’
He said the study showed a ‘survival benefit’ for moderate drinkers compared with those who abstained from alcohol.
On average, their life expectancy was just more than a year longer than abstainers – a difference the researchers said was ‘statistically significant’.
The findings, however, did not suggest that nondrinkers should start imbibing after a heart failure diagnosis, the researchers warned.