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Heart Disease Health Center

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Cheers! Moderate Drinking May Help Prevent Blood Clots


Myers is not suggesting that people who don't drink should start, but, he says, from the point of view of protecting against heart disease, "I would suggest that moderate drinking ? and no binge drinking ? is probably not harmful. I would not leap to conclusions about any particular beneficial effect of drinking in general or drinking any specific type of beverage."

"The small magnitude of the changes ? is only a clue to what alcohol does to blood clotting," Thomas DeLoughery, MD, who was not involved in the study, tells WebMD. He also points out that methods of studying platelets in blood that have been removed from the body are not as precise as methods used to evaluate them while they are circulating in the bloodstream. Myers' tests on the platelets were done in a test tube.

DeLoughery acknowledges that studies on large groups of people have shown that those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol have fewer heart attacks, and he finds the Georgetown University study interesting. Nevertheless, he says bigger and better studies in humans are needed to determine the true effect of moderate alcohol use on blood clotting. "Certainly one should not adopt a potentially risky habit based on one laboratory study," he adds. DeLoughery is associate professor of medicine and director of anticoagulation services at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.

Vital Information:

  • Studies have shown that people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have lower death rates than those who abstain from drinking or who drink heavily.
  • Alcohol is known to increase levels of the "good" cholesterol, or HDL, and new research shows that it may act as a blood thinner.
  • In the new study, drinking alcohol decreased the clumping together of clotting cells in the blood, a process that can lead to blood vessel blockages in the heart and possibly a heart attack.
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