The term metabolic syndrome describes a cluster of metabolic risk factors that increase the chances of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes including obesity, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and high fasting glucose. A study of 2,800 people in Western New York looked at the links between people's drinking patterns and their risk of developing metabolic syndrome. The researchers found two main patterns of drinking. 'Early peakers' were characterized by early and heavy drinking followed by a sharp reduction in alcohol intake. 'Stable drinkers' were characterized by more modest consumption spread over a longer period of life. Even though 'early peakers' were on average ten years younger they had a modestly higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome. 'Early peakers' generally began drinking earlier than 'stable drinkers' but drank for fewer years, less frequently and consumed less volume of alcohol over their lifetimes. The study raises yet more concerns over the long-term effects of binge drinking by teenagers and young adults.
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