The pros and cons of alcohol consumption on human health is a complicated issue. There are many articles on this subject, writes Dr. Raghavendra Rao. – #Alcohol #RaghavendraRao #community @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #health #ProsAndConsofAlcohol #Whiskey #Wine

Pros: Overall, several studies have shown that drinking small to moderate amounts of alcohol daily decreases the risk of death from heart attacks by almost 33 percent. In addition, moderate drinking lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes and alleviates stress.

The benefit of alcohol is due to its effect in increasing the so called good cholesterol, the HDL, which prevents platelet clumping and lowers a clotting factor, the fibrinogen. In addition, alcohol lowers the bad cholesterol, the LDL, which is presumed to cause atherosclerosis leading to heart attacks and strokes.

Moderate drinking is defined as, one standard drink for women and two drinks for men, three times a week. A standard size drink is, 12 fl. oz. of regular beer or 5 fl. oz. of table wine or 1.5 fl. oz. of a pure spirit. It seems that red wine is especially protective against coronary artery disease. It contains a chemical, Resveratrol and antioxidants which are beneficial to heart health.

Cons: Alcohol is addictive and toxic. One in five teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system in 2010. Long term heavy drinking can cause dementia, depression, seizures, and alcoholic neuropathy. Obesity, pancreatitis, fatty liver, cirrhosis, gout, anemia and cancers of mouth, throat, esophagus, liver and breast have also been noted in alcoholics. Heavy drinkers are prone to various sexually transmitted diseases as well. Children born to alcoholic mothers may have congenital malformations, developmental delays and other neurologic problems (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).

Individuals aged 21 years and younger should avoid alcohol. People with a history of alcohol abuse, organ damage, women who are pregnant or with genetic risk for breast or ovarian cancer should not drink.

The decision to drink for health depends on coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors according to Drs. Arthur L. Klatsky and Roger E. Eckaer. The risk factors are: Age (40 and older for men and 50 and older for women), family history of CHD, smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol more than 200, and HDL less than 35.

To drink or not to drink? Here is an example. For nondrinking men aged 21 to 39, and women between 21 and 49, with zero or one CHD risk factor, there is no reason to consume alcohol. Individuals in the above age group with diabetes, or two or more risk factors may consider one to three standard drinks a week. There are other scenarios. You should consult your physician before deciding to drink for health reasons.