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Study: Moderate Alcohol Consumption Helps Men with High Blood Pressure

There is more evidence that moderate alcohol consumption may be beneficial. An international team of scientists has found that men with high blood pressure can safely drink one or two glasses of wine per day. VOA's Jessica Berman reports.

The scientific evidence continues to mount, and it is all good, that moderate alcohol consumption is beneficial.

The latest study focuses on men with high blood pressure who are at significant risk for heart attack. Often, doctors tell such patients, among other things, to quit drinking.

But when U.S. and Dutch researchers analyzed data from about 12,000 men with high blood pressure in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, sponsored by Harvard University and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, the investigators found that moderate drinking might not be such a bad idea.

Every four years during the 16-year study, which began in 1986, the male health professionals were questioned about their daily alcohol consumption.

Study lead-author Joline Beulens of the TNO Quality of Life Institute in the Netherlands says fit men who drink one to two drinks per day of wine, beer or spirits had a decreased risk of having a heart attack.

"And we further looked at risk of heart disease or death due to other causes and we could not find any difference between men that drank moderately and men that did not drink at all," she said.

But Beulens says too much alcohol, equivalent to three or more drinks per day, increases the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Beulens says more studies are needed to see whether moderate drinking reduces the risk of heart attack in women.