Drinking Alcohol May Protect Lungs
Light to Moderate Alcohol Drinking May Protect Against Lung Disease
Oct. 25, 2007 -- Drinking alcohol in moderation may help you breathe
A new study shows light to moderate drinkers performed better on breathing
tests than people who abstain from alcohol.
Researchers found that people who drank fewer than two drinks, on average,
per day had a nearly 20% lower risk of lung disease than nondrinkers.
Their results were presented at CHEST 2007, the annual meeting of the
American College of Chest Physicians.
Drinking Alcohol May Help Lungs
Researchers studied the relationship between alcohol consumption and lung
function in more than 177,000 members of a California health plan who had
health examinations between 1964 and 1973.
The participants filled out questionnaires that included questions about the
usual number of alcoholic drinks consumed in a day. Their lung function was
also evaluated during their examination for evidence of lung disease.
Smokers and those with a previous history of lung or heart disease were
eliminated from the final analysis.
Overall, the results showed that people who drank fewer than two alcoholic
drinks per day were 18% less likely to show signs of lung disease than
abstainers. Those who drank three to five drinks per day had a 10% lower risk
of lung disease, but heavy drinkers who drank more than six drinks per day had
a 9% increased risk of lung disease.
Researcher Stanton T. Siu of Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program and
colleagues say the results suggest that light to moderate alcohol drinking may
have beneficial effects on lung function, but more research is needed to
confirm these effects.