Dr. Roach: Wine is not a healthy food
Wine is not a healthy food
DEAR DOCTOR. ROACH: I’ve read about the benefits of having one glass of wine a day for women or two glasses for men. Can you please tell me how your health will affect when you have more? My husband often drinks a bottle of wine in the evening, and when we go out he also drinks cocktails. – Anon.
ANSWER: I wish nobody had ever said that a glass of wine a day is healthy. It may be true, but experts disagree.
It is true that people who drink moderately, at or below the amount of a drink or two you specify, are at lower risk of some diseases than nondrinkers. This includes coronary artery disease, the type of heart disease that leads to heart attacks. But it’s not clear that it’s the wine that does it. It could be that moderate drinkers have other good health behaviors that are responsible for the better results. The definitive study, a blinded, randomized, controlled study, cannot be conducted. Too many people with alcohol problems justify their behavior by saying that small amounts of alcohol are beneficial.
What is clear is that excessive alcohol consumption above the level you mentioned can cause many health problems. I can’t even summarize all possible health issues in an entire column, but some of the most important ones are arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation; Heart defect; Bone marrow suppression; Liver disease; neurological and psychiatric diseases, including dementia, anxiety, and depression; High blood pressure; increased risk of some infections and various cancers, including breast cancer in women and esophageal cancer in men and women; Trauma; and car accidents.
A bottle of wine per day is equivalent to about five standard drinks. Cocktails on top are of course even more. This alcohol content increases your husband’s risk of dying from any cause by about 20%.
When enjoying your glass of wine, drink in moderation, but I don’t recommend drinking alcohol for health reasons.
DEAR DOCTOR. ROACH: I have COPD. Will supplemental oxygen help me go back to being outdoors for a daily exercise? I am referring to the over-the-shoulder oxygenator that is now being advertised. This equipment is quite expensive so I don’t want to waste my money if it doesn’t help me. – JH
ANSWER: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease of the lungs and is most closely related to smoking, although there are other causes that make up a small minority of cases.
The first consideration for your question is: How high is your oxygen saturation both at rest and during exercise? When a person is low on oxygen, there is strong evidence that giving oxygen improves both survival and quality of life. People with an oxygen saturation of 88% or less should be provided with oxygen all day.
Individuals with low exercise tolerance but with oxygen levels above 88% should be considered for assessing low oxygen levels during exercise. There is evidence that the use of oxygen improves exercise tolerance in people who develop low levels of oxygen during exercise, but less than half of the participants in a key study had a “clinically meaningful” improvement.
If oxygen levels are normal at rest and during exercise, there is no evidence that supplemental oxygen is beneficial.
Some key treatments for COPD that are sometimes not given include learning to use inhalers properly – it’s not as easy as it looks; Pulmonary rehabilitation; Vaccination, especially against influenza, pneumonia and COVID-19; possibly vitamin D supplements; and diet (weight loss is common in COPD).
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Dr. Roach regrets not being able to answer individual letters, but will include them in the column if possible.
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