Age and Risk Factor Profile

A few studies have indicated that subjects already at high risk of coronary disease experience a greater beneficial effect of drinking alcohol moderately; conversely, only in those with a high risk level is coronary heart disease prevented. Hence, the large Nurses Health Study found that the J-shaped relation was significant only in women older than 50 years of age, whereas younger women who had a light alcohol intake did not differ from abstainers with regard to mortality. Fuchs et al. found that women at high risk for coronary heart disease (due to risk factors such as older age, diabetes, family history of coronary heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension) who had a light alcohol intake were at a lower risk of death than women who were at the same risk level but did not drink alcohol. In a study by the American Cancer Society, the finding by Fuchs et al. was confirmed among men, and the different mortality risk functions for different age groups were emphasized.

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