07 February 2023 In Liver Disease

Alcohol use and metabolic syndrome are highly prevalent in the population and frequently co-exist. Both are implicated in a large range of health problems, including chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver-related outcomes (i.e. decompensation or liver transplantation). Studies have yielded mixed results regarding the effects of mild-moderate alcohol consumption on the risk of metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease, possibly due to methodological differences.

The few available prospective studies have indicated that mild-moderate alcohol use is associated with an increase in liver-related outcomes.

This conclusion was substantiated by systems biology analyses suggesting that alcohol and metabolic syndrome may play a similar role in fatty liver disease, potentiating an already existing dysregulation of common vital homeostatic pathways. Alcohol and metabolic factors are independently and jointly associated with liver-related outcomes. Indeed, metabolic syndrome increases the risk of liver-related outcomes, regardless of alcohol intake. Moreover, the components of metabolic syndrome appear to have additive effects when it comes to the risk of liver-related outcomes. A number of population studies have implied that measures of central/abdominal obesity, such as the waist-to-hip ratio, can predict liver-related outcomes more accurately than BMI, including in individuals who consume harmful quantities of alcohol.

Many studies even point to synergistic interactions between harmful alcohol use and many metabolic components. This accumulating evidence showing independent, combined, and modifying effects of alcohol and metabolic factors on the onset and progression of chronic liver disease highlights the multifactorial background of liver disease in the population. The available evidence suggests that more holistic approaches could be useful for risk prediction, diagnostics and treatment planning.

07 February 2023 In Drinking Patterns

Alcohol drinking patterns may determine the risk of hypertension and may also modify the detrimental effect of high alcohol intake. We prospectively evaluated the effect of the Mediterranean alcohol-drinking pattern and its interaction with the amount of alcohol consumed on the incidence of arterial hypertension. In the "Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra" (SUN) cohort, we followed-up 13,805 participants, all of them initially free of hypertension, during a maximum period of 16 years.

Information about diet, chronic diseases, lifestyle and newly diagnosed hypertension was collected using validated questionnaires. We used a 7-item score (0 to 9 points) that jointly considered moderate alcohol consumption, distributed over the week, with meals, and a preference for red wine and avoidance of binge-drinking.

During 142,404 person-years of follow-up, 1443 incident cases of hypertension were identified. Low adherence (score < 2) to the Mediterranean alcohol-drinking pattern was significantly associated with a higher incidence of hypertension (multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio 1.81, 95% confidence interval 1.09-2.99) as compared to the high-adherence (score > 7) category. Among alcohol consumers, a high adherence to the MADP is associated with a lower incidence of hypertension. Compared with abstinence, a high adherence did not seem to differ regarding its effect on hypertension risk.

07 February 2023 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: There is uncertainty about the association between alcohol consumption and stroke, particularly for low-moderate intake. We explored these associations in a large international study. METHODS: INTERSTROKE, a case-control study, is the largest international study of risk factors for acute stroke. Alcohol consumption was self-reported and categorized by drinks/week as low (1-7), moderate (7-14 for females and 7-21 for males), or high (>14 for females and >21 for males).

Heavy episodic drinking (HED) was defined as >5 drinks on >/=1 day per month. Multivariable conditional logistic regression was used to determine associations. RESULTS: We included 12,913 cases and 12,935 controls; 25.0% (n = 6,449) were current drinkers, 16.7% (n = 4,318) former drinkers, and 58.3% (n = 15,076) never drinkers. Current drinkers were younger, male, smokers, active, and with higher-paid occupations. Current drinking was associated with all stroke (OR 1.14; 95% CI 1.04-1.26) and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) (OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.21-1.84) but not ischemic stroke (OR 1.06; 95% CI 0.95-1.19).

HED pattern was associated with all stroke (OR 1.39; 95% CI 1.21-1.59), ischemic stroke (OR 1.29; 95% CI 1.10-1.51), and ICH (OR 1.76; 95% CI 1.31-2.36). High level of alcohol intake was consistently associated with all stroke, ischemic stroke, and ICH. Moderate intake was associated with all stroke and ICH but not ischemic stroke. Low alcohol intake was not associated with stroke overall, but there were regional differences; low intake was associated with reduced odds of stroke in Western Europe/North America (OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.45-0.96) and increased odds in India (OR 2.18; 95% CI 1.42-3.36) (p-interaction 0.037). Wine consumption was associated with reduced odds of all stroke and ischemic stroke but not ICH. The magnitudes of association were greatest in those without hypertension and current smokers.

DISCUSSION: High and moderate intake were associated with increased odds of stroke, whereas low intake was not associated with stroke. However, there were important regional variations, which may relate to differences in population characteristics of alcohol consumers, types or patterns of consumption.

23 November 2022 In Drinking Patterns

Although excessive alcohol consumption is a highly prevalent public health problem the data on the associations between alcohol consumption and health outcomes in individuals preferring different types of alcoholic beverages has remained unclear. We examined the relationships between the amounts and patterns of drinking with the data on laboratory indices of liver function, lipid status and inflammation in a national population-based health survey (FINRISK). Data on health status, alcohol drinking, types of alcoholic beverages preferred, body weight, smoking, coffee consumption and physical activity were recorded from 22,432 subjects (10,626 men, 11,806 women), age range 25-74 years. The participants were divided to subgroups based on the amounts of regular alcohol intake (abstainers, moderate and heavy drinkers), patterns of drinking (binge or regular) and the type of alcoholic beverage preferred (wine, beer, cider or long drink, hard liquor or mixed). Regular drinking was found to be more typical in wine drinkers whereas the subjects preferring beer or hard liquor were more often binge-type drinkers and cigarette smokers. Alcohol use in all forms was associated with increased frequencies of abnormalities in the markers of liver function, lipid status and inflammation even at rather low levels of consumption. The highest rates of abnormalities occurred, however, in the subgroups of binge-type drinkers preferring beer or hard liquor. These results demonstrate that adverse consequences of alcohol occur even at moderate average drinking levels especially in individuals who engage in binge drinking and in those preferring beer or hard liquor. Further emphasis should be placed on such patterns of drinking in policies aimed at preventing alcohol-induced adverse health outcomes.

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