Health effects of wine
The health effects of wine are mainly determined by its active ingredient alcohol. Drinking small quantities of alcohol (up to one drink per day for women and one to two drinks per day for men) is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, and early death. Drinking more than this amount, however, increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and stroke. Risk is greater in younger people due to binge drinking which may result in violence or accidents. About 3.3 million deaths (5.9% of all deaths) are believed to be due to alcohol each year. Alcoholism reduces a person's life expectancy by around ten years and alcohol use is the third leading cause of early death in the United States. No professional medical association recommends that people who are nondrinkers should start drinking wine.Wine has a long history of use as an early form of medication, being recommended variously as a safe alternative to drinking water, an antiseptic for treating wounds, a digestive aid, and as a cure for a wide range of ailments including lethargy, diarrhea and pain from child birth. Ancient Egyptian Papyri and Sumerian tablets dating back to 2200 BC detail the medicinal role of wine, making it the world's oldest documented human-made medicine. Wine continued to play a major role in medicine until the late 19th and early 20th century, when changing opinions and medical research on alcohol and alcoholism cast doubt on its role as part of a healthy lifestyle.