Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Alcohol and cardiovascular disease

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 10 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4334

Rapid Response:


In 2010 (when I was 74) my wife told me that I had an increase in blood vessels on my face due to alcohol and advised me to drink less. I thanked her for her advice and agreed I was drinking too much alcohol.

So on 1 October 2010, I decided 1) to drink no more than 90 units of alcohol per month, 2) to average no more than 3 units daily and 3) to drink no alcohol for at least 10 days per month. I recorded details of my daily intake of alcohol (if any) on one A4 sheet per month and have kept the sheets. The labels on the bottles are helpful in recording the units.

So far, I have drunk less than 90 units monthly for four years. My wife says my face is less red and healthier looking. During this time, two of our heavy drinking friends (?5 units of alcohol daily) have become demented and one has died.

In 1990 the Department of Health advised men to drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week and women 14. One unit equals ½ pint of ordinary strength beer or one small glass of wine.(1) Later advice added 3-4 units daily for men and 2-3 daily for women. One unit of alcohol is 10 ml by volume or 8g by weight of pure alcohol.(2) Now the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have advised middle-aged people (40-74) to cut out alcohol to reduce the risk of dementia.(3)

I advise other people to record their intake of alcohol and keep it below 90 units monthly and hope to remain healthy like me.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Tony Hall

1. Look after your Heart ‘Health Check'. Department of Health. HMSO July 1990.
2. Anon. Getting tight on units of alcohol. Drug Ther. Bull, Dec 2001: 30(12):95.
3. Laura Donnelly and Sarah Knapton. Stop drinking to lower risk of dementia, patients will be told in mid-life health check. Daily Telegraph 15 July 2014.

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 September 2014
Tony P Hall
retired consultant physician
Harpenden, Herts AL5 4RE