General Health

Moderate wine drinkers have a lower risk to die from any cause (lower total  mortality risk) than those who abstain or drink heavily. This widely accepted association is known as the J-curve. This J-curve is attributable to the beneficial effect on cardiovascular health which compensates the negative effects of some cancers resulting in a lower risk to die from any possible cause. The relative risk of dying is lowest among light to moderate drinkers and increased among abstainers. However, the risk increases dramatically with each drink above moderation. Thus, while one or two glasses can be considered “good for your health”, drinking more than what guidelines suggest will not provide more benefits, only more harm.

 

If consumed in excess, alcoholic beverages increase the exposure to a wide range of risk factors whereby the risk rises with the amount of alcohol consumed. Thus, it is crucial to prevent abusive consumption. Alcohol abuse is associated with a range of long-term chronic diseases that reduce the quality of life. These include hypertension, cardiovascular problems, cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol dependence, various forms of cancer, alcohol-related brain damage and a range of other problems. Not only the amount of alcohol but also the drinking patterns are important. Findings from a meta analysis support results from other studies that binge drinking is detrimental to heart health. The authors concluded that it is best for drinkers to avoid binge drinking -- not only because of the possible heart effects, but also because of more immediate risks, like accidents and violence.

 

In addition to health issues resulting from excessive alcohol consumption, there are social consequences, both for the drinker and for others in the community. The consequences include harm to family members (including children), to friends and colleagues as well as to bystanders and strangers.

 

The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.

 

 

BACKGROUND: Heavy drinkers of alcohol are reported to use hospitals more than non-drinkers, but it is unclear whether light-to-moderate drinkers use hospitals more than non-drinkers. OBJECTIVE: We examined the relationship between alcohol consumption in 10,883 men and 12,857 women aged 40-79 years in the general population and subsequent admissions to hospital and time spent in hospital. METHODS: Participants from the EPIC-Norfolk prospective population-based study were followed for ten years (1999-2009) using record linkage. RESULTS: Compared to current non-drinkers, men who reported any alcohol drinking had a lower risk of spending more than twenty days in hospital multivariable adjusted OR 0.80 (95%CI 0.68-0.94) after adjusting for age, smoking status, education, social class, body mass index and prevalent diseases. Women who were…
Objective: The objective of this study is to determine whether the health effects of smoking and moderate alcohol use persist with aging. Method: Smoking status, alcohol use, and measures of function and health were obtained from 9,704 women aged >/=65 years at baseline and over 10- and 20-year follow-up periods. Adjusted multiple linear and logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models estimated associations. Results: Current versus never smokers had worse walking speed, self-reported health, difficulty with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), and depression at 10 years and higher death rates at 10 and 20 years. Moderate versus never drinkers had better grip strength, walking speed, self-reported health, and less difficulty with IADLs and were less likely to live in…
BACKGROUND: We examined the associations of alcohol consumption and liver holidays with all-cause mortality and with mortality due to cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, respiratory disease, and injury using a large-scale prospective study in Japan. METHODS: We followed 102,849 Japanese who were aged between 40 and 69 years at baseline for 18.2 years on average, during which 15,203 deaths were reported. Associations between alcohol intake and mortality risk were assessed using a Cox proportional hazards model, with analysis by the number of liver holidays (in which a person abstains from drinking for several days a week). RESULTS: A J-shaped association was observed between alcohol intake and total mortality in men (nondrinkers: reference; occasional drinkers: hazard ratio [HR] 0.74; 95% confidence…
OBJECTIVES: The primary goal was to examine the relationship between alcohol use and frailty, a variable characterizing late-life decline, in a national, longitudinal survey of older adults living in the United States. METHODS: The sample drawn from the Health and Retirement Study included 9,499 stroke-free participants over age 65 in 2000. The sample was 59.1% female, and had a mean age of 74.25 years (SD = 6.99). Follow-up data was from 2004, 2008, and 2012. Frailty was defined phenotypically using the Paulson-Lichtenberg Frailty Index (PLFI). Alcohol use was measured via self-report. Control variables included age, race, education, socio-economic status (SES), depressive symptomatology, medical burden score, body mass index (BMI), and partner status. With abstinent participants as the reference group, logistic…
The introduction of the term "French Paradox" motivated an extensive and in-depth research into health benefits of moderate wine consumption. The superiority of wine is thought to be attributed to its micro-constituents and consequent effort was made to isolate and identify these bioactive compounds as well as to elucidate the mechanisms of their action. Controlled trials offer more concrete answers to several raised questions than observational studies. Under this perspective, clinical trials have been implemented, mainly in healthy volunteers and rarely in patients, in order to investigate the acute or chronic effect of wine consumption on metabolism and physio-pathological systems, which are mainly associated with cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this review is to update the knowledge about the acute…
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