07 February 2023 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Most of the available epidemiological evidence on alcohol and chronic disease agrees on recommending alcohol abstention to young people, but some controversy exists about the most appropriate recommendation for alcohol abstention for people of older ages. A growing body of evidence suggests that the pattern of alcohol consumption is likely to be a strong effect modifier. The Mediterranean Alcohol Drinking Pattern (MADP) represents a score integrating several dimensions of drinking patterns (moderation, preference for red wine, drinking with meals, and avoiding binge drinking). Our aim was to clarify this issue and provide more precise recommendations on alcohol consumption.

METHODS: We prospectively followed-up 2226 participants (men older than 50 years and women older than 55 years at baseline) in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort. We classified participants into three categories of adherence to the MADP score (low, moderate, and high), and we added a fourth category for abstainers. Cox regression models estimated multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HR) of all-cause death and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using low MADP adherence as the reference category. RESULTS: The strongest reduction in risk of mortality was observed for those with high adherence to the MADP, with an HR of 0.54 (95% CI: 0.37-0.80). The moderate adherence group (HR = 0.65, 95% CI: 0.44-0.96) and the abstention group (HR = 0.60, 95% CI: 0.36-0.98) also exhibited lower risks of mortality than the low MADP adherence group.

CONCLUSIONS: based on the available evidence, a public health message can be provided to people older than 50 years as follows: among those who drink alcohol, high adherence to the MADP score could substantially reduce their risk of all-cause mortality.

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.

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.

23 November 2022 In Cardiovascular System

Alcohol is often cited to be a common cause of cardiomyopathy and heart failure. However, in most available population-based studies, a modest-to-moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with favorable effects on the cardiovascular system, including a lowered risk of heart failure, compared with no alcohol consumption. Available genetic epidemiological data have not supported a causal association between alcohol consumption and heart failure risk, suggesting that alcohol may not be a common cause of heart failure in the community. Data linking alcohol intake with cardiomyopathy risk are sparse, and the concept of alcoholic cardiomyopathy stems mainly from case series of selected patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, where a large proportion reported a history of excessive alcohol intake. This state-of-the-art paper addresses the current knowledge of the epidemiology of alcoholic cardiomyopathy and the role of alcohol intake in patients with non-alcohol-related heart failure. It also offers directions to future research in the area. The review questions the validity of current clinical teaching in the area. It is not well known how much alcohol is needed to cause disease, and the epidemiological pathways linking alcohol consumption to cardiomyopathy and heart failure are not well understood. Until more evidence becomes available, caution is warranted before labeling patients as having alcoholic cardiomyopathy due to a risk of neglecting other contributors, such as genetic causes of cardiomyopathy. In non-alcohol-related heart failure, it is unknown whether total abstinence is improving outcomes (compared with moderate drinking). Ideally, randomized clinical trials are needed to answer this question.

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