The ISFAR reviewed a paper looking at binge drinking and its effect on cardiovascular disease

The ISFAR reviewed a paper looking at binge drinking and its effect on cardiovascular disease

The ISFAR recently considered a review paper on the effects of binge drinking on the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), noting that it provides considerable information on a topic of importance to public health.

The research clearly indicates that subjects who binge drink, however defined, tend to be at an increased risk of developing hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. These adverse health outcomes are in addition to the well-known effects of binge drinking on drunkenness and the many adverse health effects, both acute and chronic, as well as the risks from violence and accidents to the drinker and to others.

While the members of the ISFAR applaud the efforts of the authors to present data on this relation, this paper failed to include many important previous research reports on the topic.

Forum member Ian Puddey and others have prepared an extensive summary of many of the key research papers not addressed by the authors of this paper; their remarks are included in the full Forum critique, which can be accessed below. It describes how many factors, such as not only the amount but also the rate at which alcohol is consumed, the type of beverage, whether or not food is being consumed, the prior drinking habits of the subjects, and many other factors can influence the effects of alcoholic beverages on health. 

ISFAR members conclude that a "comprehensive review" of binge drinking and other drinking patterns of alcohol in relation to the risk of CVD should include all of the available scientific data on the topic to be most useful. Taking into consideration the additional research results described in this critique provides a much better overview of the effects of binge drinking on CVD.

The bottom line is that episodic heavy drinking, or binge drinking, has adverse influences on many health outcomes, including the risk of CVD.

To read the full critique, click here.

These critiques are published with the permission of The International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research.