27 July 2018 In General Health

A routine of light or moderate alcohol consumption (4drinks/day) is associated with an increased risk for death and cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD). Excessive alcohol intake trails behind only smoking and obesity among the 3 leading causes of premature deaths in the United States (US). Heavy alcohol use is a common cause of reversible hypertension (HTN), nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation (AF), and stroke (both ischemic and hemorrhagic). Among males aged 15 to 59years, alcohol abuse is perhaps the leading cause of premature death. As such, the risk-to-benefit ratio of drinking is less favorable in younger individuals. A daily habit of light to moderate drinking is ideal for those who choose to consume alcohol regularly. Red wine in particular before or during the evening meal is linked with the best long-term CV outcomes. Most of the studies on alcohol and health are observational, and correlation does not prove causation. Health care professionals should not advise nondrinkers to begin drinking because of the paucity of randomized outcome data coupled with the potential for alcohol abuse even among seemingly low risk individuals.

27 July 2018 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The progression of carotid-plaque volume in patients with type 2 diabetes is common. Previous observational studies showed an association between moderate alcohol and reduced risk of coronary disease. We examined whether consuming moderate wine affects the progression of carotid atherosclerosis.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: In the CASCADE (CArdiovaSCulAr Diabetes and Ethanol), a 2-year randomized controlled trial, we randomized abstainers with type 2 diabetes were to drink 150 ml of either red wine, white wine, or water, provided for 2 years. In addition, groups were guided to maintain a Mediterranean diet. We followed 2-year changes in carotid total plaque volume (carotid-TPV) and carotid vessel wall volume (carotid-VWV), using three-dimensional ultrasound.

RESULTS: Carotid images were available from 174 of the 224 CASCADE participants (67% men; age = 59 yr; HbA1C = 6.8%). Forty-five percent had detectable plaque at baseline. After 2 years, no significant progression in carotid-TPV was observed (water, -1.4 (17.0) mm(3), CI (-2.7, 5.5), white-wine, -1.2 (16.9) mm(3), CI (-3.8, 6.2), red wine, -1.3 (17.6) mm(3), CI (-3.4, 6.0; p = 0.9 between groups)). In post hoc analysis, we divided the 78 participants with detectable baseline carotid plaque into tertiles. Those with the higher baseline plaque burden, whom were assigned to drink wine, reduced their plaque volume significantly after 2 years, as compared to baseline. Two-year reductions in Apo(B)/Apo(A) ratio(s) were independently associated with regression in carotid-TPV (beta = 0.4; p < 0.001). Two-year decreases in systolic blood pressure were independently associated with regression in carotid-VWV (beta = 0.2; p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS: No progression in carotid-TPV was observed. In subgroup analyses, those with the greatest plaque burden assigned to drink wine may have had a small regression of plaque burden.

27 July 2018 In Diabetes

AIMS: We investigate (a) alcohol consumption in association with type 2 diabetes, taking heavy episodic drinking (HED), socioeconomic, health and lifestyle, and psychosocial factors into account, and (b) whether a seemingly protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption on type 2 diabetes persists when stratified by occupational position.

METHODS: This population-based longitudinal cohort study comprises 16,223 Swedes aged 18-84 years who answered questionnaires about lifestyle, including alcohol consumption in 2002, and who were followed-up for self-reported or register-based diabetes in 2003-2011. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated in a multivariable-adjusted logistic regression model for all participants and stratified by high and low occupational position. We adjusted for HED, socioeconomic (occupational position, cohabiting status and unemployment), health and lifestyle (body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity, poor general health, anxiety/depression and psychosocial (low job control and poor social support) characteristics one by one, and the sets of these factors.

RESULTS: Moderate consumption was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes after controlling for health and lifestyle (OR=0.47; 95% CI: 0.29-0.79) and psychosocial factors (OR=0.40; 95% CI: 0.22-0.79) when compared to non-drinkers. When adjusting for socioeconomic factors, there was still an inverse but non-significant association (OR=0.59; 95% CI: 0.35-1.00). In those with high occupational position, there was no significant association between moderate consumption and type 2 diabetes after adjusting for socioeconomic (OR=0.67; 95% CI: 0.3-1.52), health and lifestyle (OR=0.70; 95% CI: 0.32-1.5), and psychosocial factors (OR=0.75; 95% CI: 0.23-2.46). On the contrary, in those with low occupational position, ORs decreased from 0.55 (95% CI: 0.28-1.1) to 0.35 (95% CI: 0.15-0.82) when adjusting for psychosocial factors, a decrease that was solely due to low job control. HED did not influence any of these associations.

CONCLUSIONS: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, after adjusting for HED, health and lifestyle, and psychosocial characteristics. The association was inverse but non-significant after adjusting for socioeconomic factors. When stratified by occupational position, there was an inverse association only in those with low occupational position and after adjusting for low job control.

18 May 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Low-risk limits recommended for alcohol consumption vary substantially across different national guidelines. To define thresholds associated with lowest risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, we studied individual-participant data from 599 912 current drinkers without previous cardiovascular disease.

METHODS: We did a combined analysis of individual-participant data from three large-scale data sources in 19 high-income countries (the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, EPIC-CVD, and the UK Biobank). We characterised dose-response associations and calculated hazard ratios (HRs) per 100 g per week of alcohol (12.5 units per week) across 83 prospective studies, adjusting at least for study or centre, age, sex, smoking, and diabetes. To be eligible for the analysis, participants had to have information recorded about their alcohol consumption amount and status (ie, non-drinker vs current drinker), plus age, sex, history of diabetes and smoking status, at least 1 year of follow-up after baseline, and no baseline history of cardiovascular disease. The main analyses focused on current drinkers, whose baseline alcohol consumption was categorised into eight predefined groups according to the amount in grams consumed per week. We assessed alcohol consumption in relation to all-cause mortality, total cardiovascular disease, and several cardiovascular disease subtypes. We corrected HRs for estimated long-term variability in alcohol consumption using 152 640 serial alcohol assessments obtained some years apart (median interval 5.6 years [5th-95th percentile 1.04-13.5]) from 71 011 participants from 37 studies.

FINDINGS: In the 599 912 current drinkers included in the analysis, we recorded 40 310 deaths and 39 018 incident cardiovascular disease events during 5.4 million person-years of follow-up. For all-cause mortality, we recorded a positive and curvilinear association with the level of alcohol consumption, with the minimum mortality risk around or below 100 g per week. Alcohol consumption was roughly linearly associated with a higher risk of stroke (HR per 100 g per week higher consumption 1.14, 95% CI, 1.10-1.17), coronary disease excluding myocardial infarction (1.06, 1.00-1.11), heart failure (1.09, 1.03-1.15), fatal hypertensive disease (1.24, 1.15-1.33); and fatal aortic aneurysm (1.15, 1.03-1.28). By contrast, increased alcohol consumption was log-linearly associated with a lower risk of myocardial infarction (HR 0.94, 0.91-0.97). In comparison to those who reported drinking >0-100-200-350 g per week had lower life expectancy at age 40 years of approximately 6 months, 1-2 years, or 4-5 years, respectively.

INTERPRETATION: In current drinkers of alcohol in high-income countries, the threshold for lowest risk of all-cause mortality was about 100 g/week. For cardiovascular disease subtypes other than myocardial infarction, there were no clear risk thresholds below which lower alcohol consumption stopped being associated with lower disease risk. These data support limits for alcohol consumption that are lower than those recommended in most current guidelines.

FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, European Union Framework 7, and European Research Council.

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