At their eighth annual conference in Chicago, the American Heart Association revealed a new study linking heavy drinking among college students to heart disease. The data was gathered and analyzed by the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, MN. The key factor in the study was elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels within the subjects of the group.
College life has always been associated with partying. A majority of students attending post-secondary education have consumed alcohol at least once. Fraternity parties and events, often held weekly, are quiet popular, especially among freshman enjoying their new freedom. In a study done by professors at the Boston University School of Public Health, 44% of students said that they had experienced heavy drinking at least once. One fourth of them admitted that the occurrence was a regular event. It seems that concerned parents may not be over-reacting after all.
The dangers of drinking have been publicized for a long time. Schools teach it to students, doctors warn patients, and parents lecture their children on the effects alcohol can have. The list of risks associated with alcohol consumption goes beyond that of auto accidents. Health factors include stroke, cancer, high blood pressure, and liver disease. Alcoholism is another concern.
Heart disease can occur at any age. Some people are at a higher risk of developing the condition, especially those with a family history of the disease. Many studies have been done to link diet and exercise to heart risks. Previous research revealed the risks of long-term drinking, but this study shows that heavy drinking in short term periods can cause harm.
Physicians use the CRP levels of patients to indicate cardiovascular disease, especially heart attacks and fatty build up in arteries. High levels can mean that a patient is likely to have the health problems. Of course, high CRP levels can also indicate other problems, but for those who have the potential to develop heart disease, it has become an essential diagnostic tool. The new study showed that those who drank heavily had a CRP level that placed them at a moderate risk for developing heart disease.
Alcohol in moderation has been accepted by the medical field. However, they have stated the dangers of drinking more than the average of one (for women) or two (for men) drinks per day. This news makes physicians, parents, and college administrators uneasy. Drunk diving and alcohol poisoning was once their major concern. Heart disease now joins the list.
College students everywhere are urged to think about the long and short-term affects of drinking. One can enjoy campus life by being responsible; becoming educated about alcohol, and having a realistic perspective. The future depends in it!