27 September 2019 In General Health

AIMS: Alcohol is an important risk factor for morbidity and mortality, especially within the European region. Differences in per capita consumption and drinking patterns are possible reasons for regional differences and diverging trends in alcohol-related health outcomes.

METHODS: Twenty-nine countries within the World Health Organization (WHO) European region were evaluated for trends and predictions in alcohol-related deaths within the last four decades using data available from the WHO Health for All database.

RESULTS: Between 1979 and 2015, age-standardised death rates due to selected alcohol-related causes decreased significantly for both sexes in all assessed countries of the WHO European region, but regional differences are still pronounced. Assuming a similar trend in the future, the model predicted a further decrease until the year 2030.

CONCLUSION: Even though alcohol-related mortality may have decreased within the last decades, the detrimental effects of alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence remain a considerable burden of disease within Europe.

27 September 2019 In General Health

Alcohol consumption is a significant public health issue worldwide. The rat model and epidemiological studies have both reported conflicting results about the effects of alcohol on the kidneys. We aimed to explore the relationships between alcohol consumption and chronic kidney disease. Data from the National Health Interview Survey, the National Health Insurance research database, and the National Deaths Dataset were used. Standardized in-person interviews were executed in 2001, 2005, and 2009 to obtain the demographic characteristics of study population. The participants were followed up until 2013. The primary outcome was new-onset chronic kidney disease. We analyzed 45,200 adults older than 18 years (50.8% men and 49.2% women), and the overall mean (SD) age was 42.73 (16.64) years. During the 8.5 (3.5) years of follow-up, new-onset chronic kidney disease was recognized in 1535 (5.5%), 292 (2.7%), and 317 (4.9%) non-drinking, social-drinking, and regular-drinking participants, respectively. The participants who were social and regular drinkers had a significantly decreased risk of chronic kidney disease incidence (social drinking: adjusted hazard ratio (HR), 0.85; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.74-0.97; p = 0.018; regular-drinking: AHR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.74-0.98; p = 0.024), with baseline demographics and comorbidities adjusted. In conclusion, social and regular drinkers had decreased risk of chronic kidney disease when compared with non-drinkers.

27 September 2019 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Alcohol consumption in later life has increased in the past decade, and the relationship between alcohol consumption and mortality is controversial. Recent studies suggest little, if any, health benefit to alcohol. Yet most rely on single-time point consumption assessments and minimal confounder adjustments.

METHODS: We report on 16 years of follow-up from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) cohorts born 1931 to 1941 (N = 7,904, baseline mean age = 61, SD = 3.18). Respondents were queried about drinking frequency/quantity. Mortality was established via exit interviews and confirmed with the national death index. Time-varying confounders included but were not limited to household assets, smoking, body mass index, health/functioning, depression, chronic disease; time-invariant confounders included baseline age, education, sex, and race.

RESULTS: After adjustment, current abstainers had the highest risk of subsequent mortality, consistent with sick quitters, and moderate (men: HR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.60 to 0.91; women: HR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.63 to 1.07) drinking was associated with a lower mortality rate compared with occasional drinking, though smokers and men evidenced less of an inverse association. Quantitative bias analyses indicated that omitted confounders would need to be associated with ~4-fold increases in mortality rates for men and ~9-fold increases for women to change the results.

CONCLUSIONS: There are consistent associations between moderate/occasional drinking and lower mortality, though residual confounding remains a threat to validity. Continued efforts to conduct large-scale observational studies of alcohol consumption and mortality are needed to characterize the changing patterns of consumption in older age.

27 September 2019 In General Health

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether poor self-rated health and psychological distress are differentially associated with drinking trajectories over time.

METHODS: From the Stockholm Public Health Cohort, two subcohorts surveyed in 2002-2010-2014 and 2006-2010-2014 (n=23 794 and n=34 667 at baseline, respectively) were used. Alcohol consumption, self-rated health, psychological distress (measured by General Health Questionnaire-12), lifestyle factors and longstanding illness were assessed by questionnaires. Demographic and socioeconomic variables were obtained by register linkage. Logistic regression was fitted to assess the associations with eight alcohol consumption trajectories, which were constructed among 30 228 individuals (13 898 and 16 330 from the 2002 and 2006 subcohorts, respectively) with measures of consumption at three time points.

RESULTS: Compared with stable moderate drinkers, all other trajectories were associated with poor self-rated health with multiadjusted OR for stable non-drinkers of 2.35 (95% CIs 1.86 to 2.97), unstable non-drinkers (OR=2.58, 95% CI 1.54 to 3.32), former drinkers (OR=2.81, 95% CI 2.31 to 3.41) and stable heavy drinkers (OR=2.16, 95% CI 1.47 to 3.20). The associations were not fully explained by sociodemographic and lifestyle factors and longstanding illness. Former drinking, but no other trajectories, was associated with psychological distress (OR=1.24; 95% CI 1.10 to 1.41).

CONCLUSION: We found a U-shape association between alcohol trajectories and self-rated health, but not with psychological distress. Compared with stable moderate drinking, former drinking was associated with the highest odds of both poor self-rated health and psychological distress. The study confirms the importance of a life-course approach to examining the effect of alcohol consumption on health and highlights the poorer general and mental health status of non-drinkers who were former drinkers.

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