Irish Heart Foundation advises cutting alcohol

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When offered alcohol, Say ’When’ Sooner is the message from the Irish Heart Foundation for Heart Month in September.

From The Irish Times

The consequences of drinking more than the recommended limit, it says, are higher risk of stroke, cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) and atrial fibrillation, among other things.

IHF medical director Dr Angie Brown says cutting alcohol can lead to dramatic health improvements.

Most Irish people vastly underestimate how much they drink, according to a Health Research Board report. Also, a survey by Ipsos MRBI for the IHF, found only 9 per cent of Irish adults know how much is in a standard drink.

A standard drink includes a small glass of wine (100ml), half a pint of beer or a pub measure of spirits. So one pint of beer counts as two standard drinks and there are almost eight standard drinks in a bottle of wine.

It is recommended women should have no more than 11 standard drinks and men no more than 17 a week.

Dr Brown said too many people exceed this, putting themselves needlessly at risk. “Sadly many people only cut back on alcohol after they have a cardiac event.”

John Healy, maitre d’ on TV show The Restaurant, was one of those. He had his first heart attack in 2007, a second in 2009 and a heart transplant in 2011. “I didn’t realise my lifestyle was putting me in danger. I had no warning.”

He no longer drinks.