25 January 2019 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Epidemiological evidence on the impact of different alcohol drinking patterns on health-care systems or hospitalizations is sparse. We investigated how the different average volumes of alcohol consumed relate to all-cause and cause-specific hospitalizations.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study (baseline 2005-10) linked to a registry of hospital discharge records to identify hospitalizations at follow-up (December 2013).

SETTING: Molise region, Italy.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 20 682 individuals (48% men, age >/= 35 years) who participated in the Moli-sani Study and were free from cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline.

MEASUREMENTS: The alcohol volume consumed in the year before enrolment was classified as: life-time abstainers, former drinkers, occasional drinkers and current drinkers who drank 1-12 (referent), 12.1-24, 24.1-48 and > 48 g/day of alcohol. Cause-specific hospitalizations were assigned by Italian Diagnosis Related Groups classification or by ICD-9 code of main admission diagnoses. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) of hospitalization were estimated by Poisson regression, taking into account the total number of admissions that occurred during the follow-up per person.

FINDINGS: During a median follow-up of 6.3 years, 12 996 multiple hospital admissions occurred. In multivariable analyses, life-time abstainers and former drinkers had higher rates of all-cause [IRR = 1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05-1.17 and IRR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.02-1.31, respectively] and vascular (IRR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.02-1.27 and IRR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.24-1.76, respectively) hospitalizations compared with light alcohol consumers. Alcohol consumption > 48 g/day was associated with a higher rate of hospitalization for both alcohol-related diseases (IRR = 1.74, 95% CI = 1.32-2.29) and cancer (IRR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.12-1.65). The magnitude of the association between heavier alcohol intake and hospitalization tended to be greater in smokers than non-smokers. No associations were observed with hospitalization for trauma or neurodegenerative diseases.

CONCLUSIONS: Moderate alcohol consumption appears to have a modest but complex impact on global hospitalization burden. Heavier drinkers have a higher rate of hospitalization for all causes, including alcohol-related diseases and cancer, a risk that appears to be further magnified by concurrent smoking.

05 December 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Problem drinking carries significant health burdens, including an increased risk of hypertension. The effect of chronic alcohol intake on blood pressure (BP) in women is understudied and poorly understood.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to examine the relationships between drinking habits and BP in hypertensive women.

METHODS: We analyzed drinking habits in 113 women followed in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Hypertension Clinic for at least one year.

RESULTS: Among these women with well-controlled hypertension, baseline diastolic BP was significantly lower in moderate drinkers compared with women who rarely or never drank. Changes in both systolic and diastolic BP over 12 months showed a significant negative association with changes in percent drinking days. In contrast, there was a trend toward higher baseline systolic BP among those women who consumed more drinks per drinking day.

CONCLUSIONS: Among these women with controlled hypertension, our data failed to demonstrate an association between drinking beyond recommended limits and higher disease burden. These findings parallel the widely reported difference between drinking frequency, associated with a host of positive health outcomes, and drinking intensity, associated with negative outcomes. Novel to this report is an observed reduction in blood pressure over the one-year follow-up period accompanying an increased drinking frequency in treated hypertensive women. Cautions include the suggestion that a greater number of drinks per drinking day was associated with higher baseline pressure. These data imply that drinking within sensible limits has no negative impact on chronic hypertension. In fact, for women with well-controlled hypertension, such a habit may impart benefit.

05 December 2018 In Drinking and Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Some of the previously reported health benefits of low-to-moderate alcohol consumption may derive from health status influencing alcohol consumption rather than the opposite. We examined whether health status changes influence changes in alcohol consumption, cessation included.

METHODS: Data came from 571 current drinkers aged >/=60 years participating in the Seniors-ENRICA cohort in Spain. Participants were recruited in 2008-2010 and followed-up for 8.2 years, with four waves of data collection. We assessed health status using a 52-item deficit accumulation (DA) index with four domains: functional, self-rated health and vitality, mental health, and morbidity and health services use. To minimise reverse causation, we examined how changes in health status over a 3-year period (wave 0-wave 1) influenced changes in alcohol consumption over the subsequent 5 years (waves 1-3) using linear/logistic regression, as appropriate.

RESULTS: Compared with participants in the lowest tertile of DA change (mean absolute 4.3% health improvement), those in the highest tertile (7.8% worsening) showed a reduction in alcohol intake (beta: -4.32 g/day; 95% CI -7.00 to -1.62; p trend=0.002) and were more likely to quit alcohol (OR: 2.80; 95% CI 1.54 to 5.08; p trend=0.001). The main contributors to decreasing drinking were increased functional impairment and poorer self-rated health, whereas worsening self-rated health, onset of diabetes or stroke and increased prevalence of hospitalisation influenced cessation.

CONCLUSIONS: Health deterioration is related to a subsequent reduction and cessation of alcohol consumption contributing to the growing evidence challenging the protective health effect previously attributed to low-to-moderate alcohol consumption.

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