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Alcohol abuse may predict congestive heart failure; even among younger adults

Alcohol abuse was associated with a 70 percent increased risk of congestive heart failure in adults and the link was especially strong among younger adults (60 years or younger) and those without high blood pressure, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2015.

Researchers analyzed 858,187 patients randomly selected from a California database of all emergency department, ambulatory procedural and inpatient healthcare encounters between 2005 and 2009. Patient ages ranged from 30s to 70s; and more than a third were men and almost half were white.

During study follow-up, 4 percent, or 33,046 patients, were diagnosed with alcohol abuse and 12 percent, or 106,655, developed congestive heart failure.

Alcohol abuse emerged as a strong predictor of congestive heart failure after adjustment for age, gender, race, high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease, valvular heart disease, dyslipidemia, smoking, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, and income.

Researchers said their study suggests younger adults and those without high blood pressure might be disproportionately prone to the toxic heart effects from alcohol.

Isaac R. Whitman, M.D.; University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California

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