27 July 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Heavy drinkers of alcohol are reported to use hospitals more than non-drinkers, but it is unclear whether light-to-moderate drinkers use hospitals more than non-drinkers.

OBJECTIVE: We examined the relationship between alcohol consumption in 10,883 men and 12,857 women aged 40-79 years in the general population and subsequent admissions to hospital and time spent in hospital.

METHODS: Participants from the EPIC-Norfolk prospective population-based study were followed for ten years (1999-2009) using record linkage.

RESULTS: Compared to current non-drinkers, men who reported any alcohol drinking had a lower risk of spending more than twenty days in hospital multivariable adjusted OR 0.80 (95%CI 0.68-0.94) after adjusting for age, smoking status, education, social class, body mass index and prevalent diseases. Women who were current drinkers were less likely to have any hospital admissions multivariable adjusted OR 0.84 (95%CI 0.74-0.95), seven or more admissions OR 0.77 (95% CI 0.66-0.88) or more than twenty hospital days OR 0.70 (95%CI 0.62-0.80). However, compared to lifelong abstainers, men who were former drinkers had higher risk of any hospital admissions multivariable adjusted OR 2.22 (95%CI 1.51-3.28) and women former drinkers had higher risk of seven or more admissions OR 1.30 (95%CI 1.01-1.67).

CONCLUSION: Current alcohol consumption was associated with lower risk of future hospital usage compared with non-drinkers in this middle aged and older population. In men, this association may in part be due to whether former drinkers are included in the non-drinker reference group but in women, the association was consistent irrespective of the choice of reference group. In addition, there were few participants in this cohort with very high current alcohol intake. The measurement of past drinking, the separation of non-drinkers into former drinkers and lifelong abstainers and the choice of reference group are all influential in interpreting the risk of alcohol consumption on future hospitalisation.

27 July 2018 In General Health

The association between alcohol consumption and hip fracture differed by gender: Men aged 30-59 years drinking frequently or 14+ gl/week had higher risk than moderate drinkers. No significant association was seen in older men. Women not drinking alcohol had higher risk than those drinking moderately both regarding frequency and amount.

INTRODUCTION: We aimed to examine alcohol consumption and risk of hip fracture according to age and gender in the population-based Cohort of Norway (1994-2003).

METHODS: Socio-demographics, lifestyle, and health were self-reported and weight and height were measured in 70,568 men and 71,357 women >/= 30 years. Information on subsequent hip fractures was retrieved from hospitals' electronic patient registries during 1994-2013. Frequency of alcohol consumption was categorized: never/seldom, moderate (/= 4 times/week), and amount as number of glasses per week: 0, 1-6, 7-13, 14-27, and 28+. Type of alcohol (wine vs. beer/hard liquor) was also examined. Cox's proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) stratified on gender and baseline age < 60 and >/= 60 years.

RESULTS: During median 15-year follow-up, 1558 men and 2511 women suffered a hip fracture. Using moderate drinkers as reference, men < 60 years drinking frequently had multivariable adjusted HR = 1.73 (CI 1.02-2.96) for hip fracture and more than 2.5 times higher risk if they consumed 14+ glasses compared to 1-6 glasses per week. In other groups of age and gender, no statistically significant increased risk was found in those consuming the highest levels of alcohol. Compared to women with moderate or frequent alcohol use, never/seldom-drinking women had the highest fracture risk. In women, use of wine was associated with lower fracture risk than other types of alcohol.

CONCLUSIONS: Risk of hip fracture was highest in men < 60 years with the highest frequency and amount of alcohol consumption and in non-drinking women.

27 July 2018 In General Health

AIMS: To estimate differences in the strength and shape of associations between alcohol use and diagnosis-specific sickness absence.

DESIGN: A multi-cohort study. Participants (n = 47 520) responded to a survey on alcohol use at two time-points, and were linked to records of sickness absence. Diagnosis-specific sickness absence was followed for 4-7 years from the latter survey.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: From Finland, we had population cohort survey data from 1998 and 2003 and employee cohort survey data from 2000-02 and 2004. From France and the United Kingdom, we had employee cohort survey data from 1993 and 1997, and 1985-88 and 1991-94, respectively.

MEASUREMENTS: We used standard questionnaires to assess alcohol intake categorized into 0, 1-11 and > 11 units per week in women and 0, 1-34 and > 34 units per week in men. We identified groups with stable and changing alcohol use over time. We linked participants to records from sickness absence registers. Diagnoses of sickness absence were coded according to the International Classification of Diseases. Estimates were adjusted for sex, age, socio-economic status, smoking and body mass index.

FINDINGS: Women who reported drinking 1-11 units and men who reported drinking 1-34 units of alcohol per week in both surveys were the reference group. Compared with them, women and men who reported no alcohol use in either survey had a higher risk of sickness absence due to mental disorders [rate ratio = 1.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.22-1.88], musculoskeletal disorders (1.22, 95% CI = 1.06-1.41), diseases of the digestive system (1.35, 95% CI = 1.02-1.77) and diseases of the respiratory system (1.49, 95% CI = 1.29-1.72). Women who reported alcohol consumption of > 11 weekly units and men who reported alcohol consumption of > 34 units per week in both surveys were at increased risk of absence due to injury or poisoning (1.44, 95% CI = 1.13-1.83).

CONCLUSIONS: In Finland, France and the United Kingdom, people who report not drinking any alcohol on two occasions several years apart appear to have a higher prevalence of sickness absence from work with chronic somatic and mental illness diagnoses than those drinking below a risk threshold of 11 units per week for women and 34 units per week for men. Persistent at-risk drinking in Finland, France and the United Kingdom appears to be related to increased absence due to injury or poisoning.

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.

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