26 April 2017 In Cardiovascular System

There has been little focus on the effects of alcohol on the elderly. Although the cardiovascular benefits of moderate alcohol consumption could be of the greatest benefit in this group, so might be the detrimental effects of abuse. In this article, we review available data on the effects of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular disease, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, hypertension, and vascular function in older adults. Alcohol consumption has increased in the US population age 65 years and older in the last decade, as has monthly heavy episodic drinking in older alcohol consumers. Studies of alcohol consumption in older subjects suggest that consumption in moderation does not increase the risk of heart failure, hypertension, or atrial arrhythmias, and may in fact improve vascular function and reduce cardiovascular disease events. As in younger subjects, heavy consumption, or abuse of alcohol, negates any potential protective cardiovascular effects, increasing the incidence of heart failure and hypertension. Although alcohol consumed in moderation does not appear harmful in the elderly population, heavier consumption exacerbates hypertension and increases the incidence of heart failure.

26 April 2017 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease at higher resolution by examining the initial lifetime presentation of 12 cardiac, cerebrovascular, abdominal, or peripheral vascular diseases among five categories of consumption.

DESIGN: Population based cohort study of linked electronic health records covering primary care, hospital admissions, and mortality in 1997-2010 (median follow-up six years).

SETTING: CALIBER (ClinicAl research using LInked Bespoke studies and Electronic health Records).

PARTICIPANTS: 1 937 360 adults (51% women), aged >/=30 who were free from cardiovascular disease at baseline.

MAIN OUTCOME: measures 12 common symptomatic manifestations of cardiovascular disease, including chronic stable angina, unstable angina, acute myocardial infarction, unheralded coronary heart disease death, heart failure, sudden coronary death/cardiac arrest, transient ischaemic attack, ischaemic stroke, intracerebral and subarachnoid haemorrhage, peripheral arterial disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

RESULTS: 114 859 individuals received an incident cardiovascular diagnosis during follow-up. Non-drinking was associated with an increased risk of unstable angina (hazard ratio 1.33, 95% confidence interval 1.21 to 1.45), myocardial infarction (1.32, 1.24 to1.41), unheralded coronary death (1.56, 1.38 to 1.76), heart failure (1.24, 1.11 to 1.38), ischaemic stroke (1.12, 1.01 to 1.24), peripheral arterial disease (1.22, 1.13 to 1.32), and abdominal aortic aneurysm (1.32, 1.17 to 1.49) compared with moderate drinking (consumption within contemporaneous UK weekly/daily guidelines of 21/3 and 14/2 units for men and women, respectively). Heavy drinking (exceeding guidelines) conferred an increased risk of presenting with unheralded coronary death (1.21, 1.08 to 1.35), heart failure (1.22, 1.08 to 1.37), cardiac arrest (1.50, 1.26 to 1.77), transient ischaemic attack (1.11, 1.02 to 1.37), ischaemic stroke (1.33, 1.09 to 1.63), intracerebral haemorrhage (1.37, 1.16 to 1.62), and peripheral arterial disease (1.35; 1.23 to 1.48), but a lower risk of myocardial infarction (0.88, 0.79 to 1.00) or stable angina (0.93, 0.86 to 1.00).

CONCLUSIONS: Heterogeneous associations exist between level of alcohol consumption and the initial presentation of cardiovascular diseases. This has implications for counselling patients, public health communication, and clinical research, suggesting a more nuanced approach to the role of alcohol in prevention of cardiovascular disease is necessary.

Registration clinicaltrails.gov (NCT01864031)

26 April 2017 In Cancer

Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to an approximate 30-50% increased risk in breast cancer. Case-control and cohort studies have consistently observed this modest increase. We highlight recent evidence from molecular epidemiologic studies and studies of intermediate markers like mammographic density that provide additional evidence that this association is real and not solely explained by factors/correlates of the exposure and outcome present in non-randomized studies. We also review evidence from studies of higher risk women including BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. Given the incidence of heart disease is higher than breast cancer and modest alcohol consumption is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, we examine the latest evidence to evaluate if alcohol reduction should be targeted to women at high risk for breast cancer. We also review the most recent evidence on the effect of alcohol use on tumor recurrence and survival for those diagnosed with breast cancer.

27 February 2017 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence suggests that arterial stiffness, an important marker of cardiovascular health, is associated with alcohol consumption. However, the role of longer-term consumption patterns in the progression of arterial stiffness over time remains unclear. A longitudinal cohort design was used to evaluate the association between alcohol consumption over 25 years and subsequent changes in arterial stiffness.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Data (N=3869; 73% male) were drawn from the Whitehall II cohort study of British civil servants, in which participants completed repeat pulse wave velocity assessments of arterial stiffness across a 4- to 5-year interval. Repeated alcohol intake measurements were used to categorize participants into alcohol consumer types, accounting for longitudinal variability in consumption. Sex-stratified linear mixed-effects modeling was used to investigate whether drinker types differed in their relationship to pulse wave velocity and its progression over time. Males with consistent long-term heavy intake >112 g of ethanol/week had significantly higher baseline pulse wave velocity (b=0.26 m/s; P=0.045) than those who drank consistently moderately (1-112 g of ethanol/week). Male former drinkers showed significantly greater increases in arterial stiffness longitudinally compared to consistently moderate drinkers (b=0.11 m/s; P=0.009). All associations were nonsignificant for females after adjustment for body mass index, heart rate, mean arterial pressure, diabetes mellitus, high-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides.

CONCLUSIONS: This work demonstrates that consistently heavy alcohol consumption is associated with higher cardiovascular risk, especially among males, and also provides new insights into the potential impact of changes in drinking levels over time. It discusses the additional insights possible when capturing longitudinal consumption patterns in lieu of reliance on recent intake alone.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02663791

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