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: When calculating the number of deaths attributable to alcohol consumption (i.e., the number of deaths that would not have occurred if everyone was a lifetime abstainer), alcohol consumption is most often modelled using a capped exposure distribution so that the maximum average daily consumption is 150 grams of pure alcohol. However, the effect of capping the exposure distribution on the estimated number of alcohol-attributable deaths has yet to be systematically evaluated. Thus, the aim of this article is to estimate the number of alcohol-attributable deaths by means of a capped and an uncapped gamma distribution and capped and uncapped relative risk functions using data from the European Union (EU) for 2004. METHODS: Sex- and disease-specific alcohol relative risks were…
In this paper, the negative and the positive effects of alcohol on health are reviewed. It is first of all established facts that a high alcohol intake implies an increased risk of a large number of health outcomes, such as dementia, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cirrhosis, upper digestive tract cancer and alcohol dependency. Second, it is justified that alcohol has beneficial effects for some individuals, especially with regard to prevention of thrombosis of the heart. The public health relevance of these results is considered. The sensible drinking limits, used in both the UK and Denmark, of a maximum of 21 drinks per week for men and 14 drinks per week for women seem valid. A broader public health message of…
Background: Alcohol consumption is high in France. AIM: Estimation of alcohol-attributable mortality in France by sex, age and dose, for year 2009. METHOD: We combined survey and sales data to estimate the prevalence of alcohol consumption by age, sex and dose category. For each cause of death, the relative risk of death as a function of dose was obtained from a meta-analysis and combined with prevalence data to obtain the attributable fraction; this fraction multiplied by the number of deaths gave the alcohol-attributable mortality. Results: A total of 36 500 deaths in men are attributable to alcohol in France in 2009 (13% of total mortality) versus 12 500 in women (5% of total mortality). Overall, this includes 15 000 deaths…
As indicated by epidemiological studies, regular and moderate wine consumption, particularly red wine, has been associated with health benefits. Clinical studies and work performed with animal models indicate that wine may protect against cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, neurological disorders, and metabolic syndrome. The mechanism of action has been attributed to antioxidant, lipid regulating, and anti-inflammatory effects. A variety of wine constituents have been studied in various disease models. Both the alcoholic and polyphenolic components of wine are believed to contribute to these beneficial effects. As wine is a complex mixture, it is likely that a multitude of chemical constituents, as well as their metabolites, work synergistically to impact human health. In sum, although…
Aims: Although it is known that alcohol has vasoactive properties, previous studies have not investigated the relationship between cerebral blood flow (CBF) and cerebral blood volume (CBV) after alcohol consumption. The aim of this study was to investigate effects of alcohol on CBF and CBV, both globally and regionally, in social drinkers. Methods: The method of choice was dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance imaging (DSC-MRI). Eight males were scanned twice on two separate days; once after consumption of alcohol (blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%) and once sober. Results: The results showed an average increase of CBF after alcohol consumption, both in grey matter (GM) and in white matter (WM), with a CBF(BAC of 0.08%)/CBF(baseline) ratio of 1.2. Regional increases in…
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