Alcohol, the Heartand C-reactive Protein (CRP)
It's long been known that having a drink or two a day improves the prognosis of people with heart disease.
In an effort to learn more about why alcohol is so beneficial to heart patients, researchers in Greece examined blood tests from 465 patients taking part in a study of heart disease treatment.
Abstainers were found to be about twice as likely to experience further heart atacks or death than were moderate drinkers.
Alcohol had the greatest benefit in patients with the highest level of a chemical known as C-reactive protein (CRP), which builds up as arteries become inflamed. Some researchers believe that CRP might be an unrecognized cause of heart disease.
Relatedly, researchers in Boston have reported that a test of artery inflamation is a better predictor of heart attack than is bad cholesterol or LDL because about half of people who have heart attacks don't have high cholesterol.
- Sternberg, S. Say "Cheers" to Soothe the Arteries: Study Suggests Alcohol Can Ease Inflamation. USA Today, November 18, 2002, 6D.
filed under: Heart