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Coronary Artery Disease and Alcohol

British Columbia Specific Information

Canada has national guidelines that provide information on how to drink alcohol safely. These include suggestions on how to minimize the health risks associated with drinking. You can read about the Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines on

Counselling is available to anyone who is directly or indirectly affected by alcohol and other drug use. Call the 24-hour BC Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service to learn more:

  • Lower Mainland: 604-660-9382
  • Anywhere in B.C.: 1-800-663-1441

You may also search HealthLinkBC's FIND Services and Resources Directory, or contact your local health authority for mental health and substance use support in your area.

Topic Overview

According to Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, moderate alcohol consumption (approximately one drink per day) appears to provide some protection for men and women over 45 years of age against some forms of heart disease.

If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. But if you do not drink alcohol, do not start drinking to try to lower your risk of heart disease. You have many other options that can lower your risk. These options include a healthy diet, exercise, and not smoking. Talk to your doctor about your heart and the benefits and risks of drinking alcohol.

Equivalents of 1 alcohol drink


341 mL (12 fl oz)


142 mL (5 fl oz)

Hard alcohol

43 mL (1.5 fl oz)

Drinking too much alcohol can be dangerous and can cause problems. Having more than 2 alcohol drinks a day for women or more than 3 drinks a day for men may:

    • Contribute to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for coronary artery disease.
    • Increase your risk of stroke.
    • Directly damage heart muscle (alcoholic cardiomyopathy), which may weaken the heart, leading to heart failure.
    • Cause abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
    • Increase your risk of some cancers.
    • Interact with your medicines if you are being treated for heart disease (or other diseases or conditions).
    • Increase your risk of liver disease.


Other Works Consulted

  • Brien SE, et al. (2011). Effect of alcohol consumption on biological markers associated with risk of coronary heart disease: Systematic review and meta-analysis of interventional studies. BMJ. Published online Feb 22, 2011 (doi: 10.1136/bmj.d636).


Adaptation Date: 9/15/2021

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC