27 September 2019 In General Health

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To examine outstanding issues in the relationship of alcohol to hypertension. These include whether the increase in BP with alcohol is causally related, the nature of the relationship in women, the contribution of alcohol-related increases in BP to cardiovascular disease and the aetiology of alcohol-related hypertension.

RECENT FINDINGS: Intervention studies and Mendelian randomisation analyses confirm the alcohol-BP relationship is causal. The concept that low-level alcohol intake reduces BP in women is increasingly unsustainable. Alcohol-related hypertension is in the causal pathway between alcohol use and increased risk for several cardiovascular outcomes. The aetiology of alcohol-related hypertension is multifactorial with recent data highlighting the effects of alcohol on the vasoconstrictor 20-HETE and oxidative stress. The high prevalence of both alcohol use and hypertension mandates a careful alcohol history in every patient with elevated BP. Early intervention for excessive alcohol use offers the promise of lower levels of BP and reduced risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes.

27 September 2019 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND: The association between change in alcohol intake and metabolic syndrome is unclear.

METHODS: This retrospective cohort consisted of 41,368 males and females from the Health Examinees-GEM study. Participants were divided into non-drinkers (0.0 g/day), light drinkers (male: 0.1 to 19.9 g/day; female: 0.1 to 9.9 g/day), moderate drinkers (male: 20.0 to 39.9 g/day; female: 10.0 to 19.9 g/day), and heavy drinkers (male: >/=40.0 g/day; female: >/=20.0 g/day) for each of the initial and follow-up health examinations. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for developing metabolic syndrome according to the change in alcohol consumption between the initial and follow-up health examinations. Adjusted mean values for the change in waist circumference, fasting serum glucose (FSG), blood pressure, triglycerides, and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels were determined according to the change in alcohol consumption by linear regression analysis.

RESULTS: Compared to persistent light drinkers, those who increased alcohol intake to heavy levels had elevated risk of metabolic syndrome (aOR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.92). In contrast, heavy drinkers who became light drinkers had reduced risk of metabolic syndrome (aOR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.84) compared to persistent heavy drinkers. Increased alcohol consumption was associated with elevated adjusted mean values for waist circumference, FSG, blood pressure, triglycerides, and HDL-C levels (all P<0.05). Reduction in alcohol intake was associated with decreased waist circumference, FSG, blood pressure, triglycerides, and HDL-C levels among initial heavy drinkers (all P<0.05).

CONCLUSION: Heavy drinkers who reduce alcohol consumption could benefit from reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.

25 January 2019 In Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND: Using data from general adult population, this study aims to describe epidemiology of alcohol consumption patterns and their association with cardiovascular risk.

METHODS: CESCAS I is a population-based study from four mid-sized cities in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Associations between diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and history of CVD and drinking patterns were assessed using crude prevalence odds ratios (ORs) and adjusted OR.

RESULTS: A total of 37.2% of the studied population never drank and 18.3% reported to be former drinkers. Among current drinkers, moderate drinking was the most frequent pattern (24.2%). For women with light and moderate consumption, the odds of having >20% CVD risk was ~40% lower than that of never drinkers. The odds of having a history of CVD was 50% lower in those with moderate consumption. For men with heavy consumption, the odds of having >20% CVD risk was about twice as high as for never drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: A harmful association was observed between heavy drinking and having >20% CVD risk for men. However, for women, an apparently protective association was observed between light and moderate drinking and having >20% CVD risk and between moderate drinking and having a history of CVD.

25 January 2019 In Cardiovascular System

Light-to-moderate regular alcohol consumption has been associated with reduced mortality, heart failure, and sudden death, with a well described "U-shaped" relationship. We sought to determine whether markers of diffuse ventricular fibrosis as assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) T1 mapping differ between nondrinkers and regular drinkers. We prospectively recruited 165 participants to undergo 3T CMR ventricular T1 mapping which included 120 regular light-to-moderate drinkers (7 to 28 standard drinks per week for >12 months) and 45 age and gender-matched nondrinking controls (1 standard drink approximately 12 g alcohol). Diffuse ventricular fibrosis was assessed using ShMOLLI T1 mapping sequences performed in mid-short axis. Native T1, postcontrast T1 times and extracellular volume were compared in the left ventricle between regular drinkers and lifelong nondrinkers. In total 165 participants (mean age 59 +/- 12 years, 70% male, 36% hypertension, mean LVEF 58 +/- 11%) underwent CMR. Moderate alcohol intake (mean alcohol intake 16 +/- 6 SDs/week) was associated with lower markers of diffuse ventricular fibrosis: native T1 time 1140 +/- 47 vs 1173 +/- 39 ms, p < 0.001; postcontrast T1 time 470 +/- 47 vs 445 +/- 43 ms, p=0.01; extracellular volume 25.0 +/- 2.7% vs 27.0 +/- 2.8%, p=0.003 despite similar LV size (p=0.55) and mass compared with nondrinkers (p=0.78). Quantity of alcohol intake and beverage type did not predict lower native T1 times. In conclusion, light-to-moderate or "social" alcohol consumption is associated with T1 changes on CMR suggestive of a reduction in diffuse ventricular fibrosis. These preliminary findings may provide some insights into the association between modest alcohol intake and reduction in sudden death and heart failure.

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