Women's excess drinking leads to devastating results

Heavy drinking significantly increases a woman's risk of coronary heart disease, research has found.

A study by University College London found women who drank more than the recommended safe limit of 21 units a week increased their risk by 57%. Overall death rates were seven times higher among women who drank two or more times a day than in those who drank less than three drinks a week. The research, based on data on 3,374 women, is published in Addiction.

The difference in death rates among men was much smaller - with those drinking more frequently just two and a half times at greater risk. But being teetotal was also associated with an increased danger - those who did not drink at all had an 80% increased risk of heart disease compared with those who had a couple of drinks a week. But the researchers said this did not mean that women who did not drink should now start, due to the many other risk factors associated with both heart disease and alcohol consumption. Lead researcher Dr Annie Britton said: 'Small and often is probably the best method for drinking but we certainly wouldn't endorse people who don't drink (to) go out and start as a result of this and other studies. 'The best advice is not to drink more than the government's guidelines of around 21 units for women, report to &to=http://www.medicalnewstoday.com ' target=_blank>MedicalNewsToday.com

Dr Britton said the Government was right to be focusing policy on this issue. "The large amount of drinking among young women seems to be quite a new phenomenon. We are not yet seeing the long-term effects and it could be 20 years before we know what effect it has had," according &to=http://www.ananova.com' target=_blank>Ananova.com

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