Legal Articles

April 27, 2013

Binge drinking damaging to young adult circulation

Heart disease isn’t usually associated with young people, but a new study has found that binge drinking during the college years ups people’s risk of developing heart disease later on. Shane Phillips, the senior study author and associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago said, “Consequences of binge drinking may extend beyond just a bad hangover, and may actually interfere with the current and future cardiovascular health of young adults.”

Binge drinking defined

The study, whose results were published in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, defined a binge drinking episode as “consuming more than four to five alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period.” Other studies have found that more than half of all college student drinkers binge drink on a regular basis.

Alcohol affects circulation

Regular binge drinking was found to impact the body’s circulation, and specifically two types of cells: endothelium and smooth muscle. Their job is to control blood flow and when exposed to high levels of alcohol, their functioning is impaired.

College students not aware of potential risks

Phillips explained, “These vascular changes may be a precursor for the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries] and increased vulnerability to cardiovascular disease.” The study author was careful to point out that at this time, the study has merely pinpointed an associative relationship between binge drinking and heart disease, not a cause and effect relationship. However, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist, said information on the risks associated with binge drinking should be made more widely available on college campuses in order to make students more aware of the potential harm they could be doing to their bodies.


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