06 May 2014 In General Health




OBJECTIVE: This study examines the sex-specific association between alcohol intake and health-related quality of life in middle class community-dwelling older adults. METHODS: Information on alcohol intake and measures of quality of life were obtained from 1594 participants (n=633 men, n=961 women) aged 50-97 years during a research clinic visit in 1992-1996, and from their responses to a phone interview and mailed questionnaires. Quality of life measures included the Medical Outcome Study Short Form 36 (SF-36), Quality of Well-Being (QWB) Scale, Life Satisfaction Index-Z (LSI-Z), and Satisfaction with Life Survey (SWLS). Depressed mood was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Men and women were stratified into four groups of reported alcohol intake: non-drinker, occasional drinker (alcohol /=3 times/week, but <170g/week), and moderate regular drinker (alcohol intake >/=3 times/week and >/=170g/week). RESULTS: Average age of both sexes was 72+/-10 years. Only 11% of the men and 17% of the women were non-drinkers; 54% of men and 40% of women reported drinking alcohol >/=3 times per week; 18% of men and 7.5% of women were heavier regular drinkers. In multivariable regression analyses, increasing frequency of alcohol use was positively associated with better quality of life in men and in women. Associations were not explained by age, physical activity, smoking, depressed mood, or common chronic diseases including diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. CONCLUSIONS: Regular alcohol consumption is associated with increased quality of life in older men and women.




06 May 2014 In General Health




PURPOSE: This article estimates the effects of alcohol consumption on self-reported overall health status, injuries, heart problems, emergency room use, and hospitalizations among persons older than the age of 65. DESIGN AND METHODS: We analyzed data from the first wave of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a nationally representative study. We used multivariate regression and instrumental variables methods to study the associations between alcohol consumption (current drinking, binge drinking, and average number of drinks consumed) and several indicators of health status and health care utilization. RESULTS: Alcohol consumption by women was associated with better self-perceived health status, improved cardiovascular health, and lower rates of hospitalizations. We detected no significant negative or positive associations for older men. IMPLICATIONS: These findings suggest that light to moderate alcohol use by older women may have beneficial health effects. Experimental trials, however, are needed to more rigorously assess the potential benefits of alcohol use by elders due to the inherent biases of observational studies.




OBJECTIVE: A 14-year multiwave panel design was used to examine relationships between longitudinal alcohol-consumption patterns, especially persistent moderate use, and change in health-related quality of life among middle-aged and older adults.

METHOD: A nationally representative sample of 5,404 community-dwelling Canadians ages 50 and older at baseline (1994/1995) was obtained from the longitudinal National Population Health Survey. Alcohol-consumption patterns were developed based on the quantity and frequency of use in the 12 months before the interview. Health-related quality of life was assessed with the Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3). Latent growth curve modeling was used to estimate the change in HUI3 for each alcohol pattern after adjusting for covariates measured at baseline.

RESULTS: Most participants showed stable alcohol-consumption patterns over 6 years. Persistent non-users, persistent former users, those decreasing their consumption levels, and those with unstable patterns (i.e., U shaped and inverted U shaped) had lower HUI3 scores at baseline compared with persistent moderate drinkers. A more rapid decline in HUI3 scores than that observed for persistent moderate users was seen only in those with decreasing consumption (p < .001). In a subgroup identified as consistently healthy before follow-up, longitudinal drinking patterns were associated with initial HUI3 scores but not rates of change.

CONCLUSIONS: Persistent moderate drinkers had higher initial levels of health-related quality of life than persistent nonusers, persistent former users, decreasing users, U-shaped users, and inverted U-shaped users. However, rates of decline over time were similar for all groups except those decreasing their consumption, who had a greater decline in their level of health-related quality of life than persistent moderate users.

BACKGROUND: Analyses of moderate drinking have focused overwhelmingly on average consumption, which masks diverse underlying drinking patterns. This study examined the association between episodic heavy drinking and total mortality among moderate-drinking older adults.

METHODS: At baseline, the sample was comprised of 446 adults aged 55 to 65; 74 moderate drinkers who engaged in episodic heavy drinking and 372 regular moderate drinkers. The database at baseline also included a broad set of sociodemographic, behavioral, and health status covariates. Death across a 20-year follow-up period was confirmed primarily by death certificate.

RESULTS: In multiple logistic regression analyses, after adjusting for all covariates, as well as overall alcohol consumption, moderate drinkers who engaged in episodic heavy drinking had more than 2 times higher odds of 20-year mortality in comparison with regular moderate drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Among older moderate drinkers, those who engage in episodic heavy drinking show significantly increased total mortality risk compared to regular moderate drinkers. Episodic heavy drinking-even when average consumption remains moderate-is a significant public health concern.

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