My sweet little grandmother lived to be nearly 101 years old. Descended from early Texian settlers, she was the classic west Texas cattle rancher and active in the business until her late 90s. Always the lady, she never went into town without being attired in her little pill box hat, matching shoes and handbag, and, of course, white gloves. A spiritual woman, we never saw a drop of alcohol pass her lips - that is, except at bedtime. Each evening, she indulged in a little “hot toddy” (purely for “medicinal” purposes only - or so she said) just before retiring. Her body gave out long before her heart, which was the like the Energizer Bunny - it just kept on going and going and going. Even her doctors asserted that her heart was amazingly strong.
As it turns out, that little hot toddy each evening just may have contributed to her amazing heart health. HeartRhythm (journal of the Heart Rhythm Society) published the results of a long-term study in its October 2010 edition which found a positive correlation between light alcohol consumption and a reduction in sudden cardiac death (SCD) in women. According to the Heart Rhythm Society, SCD is a wide-spread problem with approximately 250,000 people dying each year from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
The long-term study began in 1980 and was not completed until 2006. One of the largest of its kind, researchers followed 85,067 participants over the course of the study. It’s worth noting that this study was the first of its kind to focus solely on women. All of the participants were women and ranged in age from 34 years young, with the oldest participant being 59 years. All participants were also registered nurses and a part of the Nurses Health Study. Researchers specifically examined the effect of alcohol consumption in women on their risk of SCD. In addition, researches also examined how SCD risk stacked up in relationship to risk of other heart diseases (coronary heart disease or CHD) in women.
Information was gathered from the study participants by questionnaire.