Study: Daily drinks more harmful as you age

It may be time to put down that drink.

According to a new study, there could be serious consequences for eldery people who have one or two drinks daily. Accrding to NBC NewsHarvard Medical School researchers surveyed 4,466 people with an average age of 76 who also underwent heart scans, and found minimal alcohol intake actually changed the structure of the heart in both men and women.

Science Daily adds that the small change made the heart less efficient, and its structure and function suffered greater changes the more people drank. Women were found to be especially vulnerable to alcohol's effects, "which might potentially contribute to a higher risk of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, for any given level of alcohol intake," says lead author Scott Solomon.

The left ventricle of the heart, or the pumping chamber, was hardest hit by alcohol and the ventricular wall became enlarged in men who consumed more than two drinks per day; for women, the changes were evident among those who drank just more than one drink daily. This means that the heart was working in overdrive and if the pace keeps up, it could result in the heart enlarging and weakening over time.

Additional studies will determine whether genetic factors play a role in a person's susceptibility, but Solomon told Time that "what is clear is that at more than two drinks a day is the point at which we start to think we are beyond the safe level for men, and with women, it’s likely to be even lower than that."

Read more at NBC News, Science Daily, and Time.

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