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Story Updated: Apr 25, 2013
..according to a brand new study.
Researchers compared two groups of healthy, nonsmoking college students...binge drinkers versus those who abstain.
Binge drinking was defined as five or more drinks in a two-hour period for men...and four for women. On average, the binge-drinking students reported having six episodes a month.
Each participant underwent blood tests, heart rate and blood pressure readings, filled out questionnaires and had ultrasound imaging.
The results: the binge drinkers had impaired function in the two main cell types that control blood flow. In other words, their circulation was affected. The vascular changes found in the students were similar to those found in people with a lifetime of heavy alcohol consumption and they can be an early sign of hardening of the arteries, heart attack and stroke.
The researchers say whether this early damage can be reversed is open to further study.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.