Scientists find youth is no protection against effects of alcohol
Researchers have found youth is no protection against the effects of alcohol, as binge drinking in your twenties can cause heart disease.
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago found that regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol causes immediate changes in circulation that can increase a healthy young adult’s risk of having heart disease later in life.
They looked at two groups of healthy students who didn’t smoke – those who had a history of binge drinking and those who abstained from alcohol, ie had had no more than five alcohol drinks in the previous year.
Men who drank five alcoholic drinks in two hours and women who drank four in the same amount of time were classed as ‘binge drinkers’. Students who binge drank did this on average six times a month over four years.
The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed binge drinks had impaired function in the two main cell types which control blood flow.
These same changes were observed in those with a lifetime history of daily heavy alcohol consumption, and can cause hardening of the arteries as well as heart attacks and strokes.
Professor Mariann Piano, co-author of the study and head of the department of biobehavioral health science at the university, said: ‘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.
‘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.’