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CLEVELAND - College students have the highest rate of binge drinking episodes and a new study finds partying hard in college may have long-term effects on your heart.
Dr. Robert Krasuski did not take part in the study but is a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
"So, if you're drinking large amounts of alcohol, probably, you're damaging the blood vessels and maybe that's leading to some of these problems," Krasuski said. "We know that people who consume lots of alcohol develop things like high blood pressure. They are at higher risk for developing heart attacks and stroke."
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago looked at two groups of healthy, non-smoking college students.
One group had a history of binge drinking while the other group abstained from alcohol.
Results show the binge drinkers had impaired function in two main cell types that control blood flow, which can lead to heart disease.
These vascular changes are similar to impairment found in people with a lifetime history of daily heavy alcohol use.
Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in a two-hour period for males, or four or more drinks in a two-hour period for females.
Researchers say college students should understand the potential consequences of binge drinking patterns.
"Alcohol is there," Krasuski said. "It may have a helpful effect on the heart, especially when it's consumed in smaller amounts. It's something to be used in moderation and something to be used with care and it's something not to be overused. I think when you really drink too much- bad things happen."
For complete findings in this study, click here: Journal of the American College of Cardiology
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