05 December 2018 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND: Alcohol is a known cause of cirrhosis, but it is unclear if the associated risk varies by whether alcohol is drunk with meals, or by the frequency or type of alcohol consumed. Here we aim to investigate the associations between alcohol consumption with meals, daily frequency of consumption, and liver cirrhosis.

METHODS: The Million Women Study is a prospective study that includes one in every four UK women born between 1935 and 1950, recruited between 1996 and 2001. In 2001 (IQR 2000-03), the participants reported their alcohol intake, whether consumption was usually with meals, and number of days per week it was consumed. Cox regression analysis yielded adjusted relative risks (RRs) for incident cirrhosis, identified by follow-up through electronic linkage to routinely collected national hospital admission, and death databases.

FINDINGS: During a mean of 15 years (SD 3) of follow-up of 401 806 women with a mean age of 60 years (SD 5), without previous cirrhosis or hepatitis, and who reported drinking at least one alcoholic drink per week, 1560 had a hospital admission with cirrhosis (n=1518) or died from the disease (n=42). Cirrhosis incidence increased with amount of alcohol consumed (>/=15 drinks [mean 220 g of alcohol] vs one to two drinks [mean 30 g of alcohol] per week; RR 3.43, 95% CI 2.87-4.10; p<0.0001). About half of the participants (203 564 of 401 806) reported usually drinking with meals and, after adjusting for amount consumed, cirrhosis incidence was lower for usually drinking with meals than not (RR 0.69, 0.62-0.77; p<0.0001; wine-only drinkers RR 0.69, 0.56-0.85; all other drinkers RR 0.72, 0.63-0.82). Among 175 618 women who consumed seven or more drinks per week, cirrhosis incidence was greater for daily consumption than non-daily consumption (adjusted RR 1.61, 1.40-1.85; p<0.0001). Daily consumption, together with not drinking with meals, was associated with more than a doubling of cirrhosis incidence (adjusted RR 2.47, 1.96-3.11; p<0.0001).

INTERPRETATION: In middle-aged women, cirrhosis incidence increases with total alcohol intake, even at moderate levels of consumption. For a given weekly intake of alcohol, this excess incidence of cirrhosis is higher if consumption is usually without meals, or with daily drinking. FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK.

21 September 2016 In Liver Disease

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are the most frequent chronic liver disorders, and their advanced forms - alcoholic steatohepatitis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis - are the most frequent conditions leading to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. NAFLD is considered as the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. With the pandemic rise of obesity, the incidence of NAFLD is also further increasing, and considering the life style in modern societies, there is a significant overlap of (risk factors causing) NAFLD and (alcohol consumption predisposing for) ALD at least in Western countries. Epidemiological studies propose a causative link between chronic alcohol consumption and progressive liver disease in obese individuals. Furthermore, experimental studies indicate combined pathological effects of alcohol and obesity or fatty acid levels, respectively, on hepatocellular lipid accumulation and injury as well as hepatic inflammation, fibrosis and cancerogenesis. Notably, these combined pathological effects are in part additive but partly even synergistic. And importantly, alcohol does already exhibit synergistic pathological effects with obesity at moderate doses. This indicates significant differences in the dose threshold for hepatotoxic alcohol effects in lean and obese subjects and herewith also has important implications for recommendations for 'safe' alcohol consumption. The purpose of this brief review is to update the knowledge on the combined effects of alcohol and obesity on the development and progression of liver disease. Undoubtedly, alcohol and the metabolic syndrome appear as a dangerous mix, and there are important interactive effects of either condition with regard to crucial triggers of liver injury.

05 March 2015 In Liver Disease

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Alcohol is the main contributing factor of alcoholic cirrhosis, but less is known about the significance of drinking pattern.

METHODS: We investigated the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis among 55,917 participants (aged 50-64years) in the Danish Cancer, Diet, and Health study (1993-2011). Baseline information on alcohol intake, drinking pattern, and confounders was obtained from a questionnaire. Follow-up information came from national registers. We calculated hazard ratios (HRs) for alcoholic cirrhosis in relation to drinking frequency, lifetime alcohol amount, and beverage type.

RESULTS: We observed 257 and 85 incident cases of alcoholic cirrhosis among men and women, respectively, none among lifetime abstainers. In men, HR for alcoholic cirrhosis among daily drinkers was 3.65 (95% CI: 2.39; 5.55) compared to drinking 2-4days/week. Alcohol amount in recent age periods (40-49 and 50-59years) was associated with an increased risk, whereas the amount in 20-29 and 30-39years was not. In men drinking 14-28 drinks/week, HR was 7.47 (95% CI: 1.68; 33.12), 3.12 (95% CI: 1.53; 6.39), and 1.69 (95% CI: 0.79; 3.65) in drinkers of little (<1% of weekly amount), some (1-15%), and mostly wine (50-100%), compared to drinking <14drinks/week. In general, results were similar for women.

CONCLUSIONS: In men, daily drinking was associated with an increased risk of alcoholic cirrhosis. Recent alcohol consumption rather than earlier in life was associated with risk of alcoholic cirrhosis. Compared to beer and liquor, wine might be associated with a lower risk of alcoholic cirrhosis.

23 January 2015 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

BACKGROUND: Alcohol use causes high burden of disease and injury globally. Switzerland has a high consumption of alcohol, almost twice the global average. Alcohol-attributable deaths and years of life lost in Switzerland were estimated by age and sex for the year 2011. Additionally, the impact of heavy drinking (40+grams/day for women and 60+g/day for men) was estimated.

METHODS: Alcohol consumption estimates were based on the Addiction Monitoring in Switzerland study and were adjusted to per capita consumption based on sales data. Mortality data were taken from the Swiss mortality register. Methodology of the Comparative Risk Assessment for alcohol was used to estimate alcohol-attributable fractions.

RESULTS: Alcohol use caused 1,600 (95% CI: 1,472 - 1,728) net deaths (1,768 deaths caused, 168 deaths prevented) among 15 to 74 year olds, corresponding to 8.7% of all deaths (men: 1,181 deaths; women: 419 deaths). Overall, 42,627 years of life (9.7%, 95% CI: 40,245 - 45,008) were lost due to alcohol. Main causes of alcohol-attributable mortality were injuries at younger ages (15-34 years), with increasing age digestive diseases (mainly liver cirrhosis) and cancers (particularly breast cancers among women). The majority (62%) of all alcohol-attributable deaths was caused by chronic heavy drinking (men: 67%; women: 48 %).

CONCLUSION: Alcohol is a major cause of premature mortality in Switzerland. Its impact, among young people mainly via injuries, among men mainly through heavy drinking, calls for a mix of preventive actions targeting chronic heavy drinking, binge drinking and mean consumption.

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