27 July 2018 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption (at baseline and over lifetime) and non-fatal and fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.

DESIGN: Multicentre case-cohort study.

SETTING: A study of cardiovascular disease (CVD) determinants within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition cohort (EPIC-CVD) from eight European countries.

PARTICIPANTS: 32 549 participants without baseline CVD, comprised of incident CVD cases and a subcohort for comparison.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Non-fatal and fatal CHD and stroke (including ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke).

RESULTS: There were 9307 non-fatal CHD events, 1699 fatal CHD, 5855 non-fatal stroke, and 733 fatal stroke. Baseline alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD, with a hazard ratio of 0.94 (95% confidence interval 0.92 to 0.96) per 12 g/day higher intake. There was a J shaped association between baseline alcohol intake and risk of fatal CHD. The hazard ratios were 0.83 (0.70 to 0.98), 0.65 (0.53 to 0.81), and 0.82 (0.65 to 1.03) for categories 5.0-14.9 g/day, 15.0-29.9 g/day, and 30.0-59.9 g/day of total alcohol intake, respectively, compared with 0.1-4.9 g/day. In contrast, hazard ratios for non-fatal and fatal stroke risk were 1.04 (1.02 to 1.07), and 1.05 (0.98 to 1.13) per 12 g/day increase in baseline alcohol intake, respectively, including broadly similar findings for ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. Associations with cardiovascular outcomes were broadly similar with average lifetime alcohol consumption as for baseline alcohol intake, and across the eight countries studied. There was no strong evidence for interactions of alcohol consumption with smoking status on the risk of CVD events.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD risk but positively associated with the risk of different stroke subtypes. This highlights the opposing associations of alcohol intake with different CVD types and strengthens the evidence for policies to reduce alcohol consumption.

18 May 2018 In General Health

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, incidence and death increases from around the time of menopause comparing to women in reproductive age. A healthy lifestyle can prevent CVD, but it is unclear which lifestyle factors may help maintain and improve cardiovascular health for women after menopausal transition. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies to evaluate the association between modifiable lifestyle factors (specifically smoking, physical activity, alcohol intake, and obesity), with CVD and mortality in middle-aged and elderly women. Pubmed, Embase, among other databases and reference lists were searched until February 29th, 2016. Study specific relative risks (RR) were meta-analyzed using random effect models. We included 59 studies involving 5,358,902 women. Comparing current versus never smokers, pooled RR were 3.12 (95% CI 2.15-4.52) for CHD incidence, 2.09 (95% CI 1.51-2.89) for stroke incidence, 2.76 (95% CI 1.62-4.71) for CVD mortality and 2.22 (95% CI 1.92-2.57) for all-cause mortality. Physical activity was associated with a decreased risk of 0.74 (95% CI 0.67-0.80) for overall CVD, 0.71 (95% CI 0.67-0.75) for CHD, 0.77 (95% CI 0.70-0.85) for stroke, 0.70 (95% CI 0.58-0.84) for CVD mortality and 0.71 (95% CI 0.65-0.78) for all-cause mortality. Comparing moderate drinkers versus non-drinkers, the RR was 0.72 (95% CI 0.56-0.91) for CHD, 0.63 (95% CI 0.57-0.71) for CVD mortality and 0.80 (95% CI 0.76-0.84) for all-cause mortality. For women with BMI 30-35 kg/m(2) the risk was 1.67 (95% CI 1.24-2.25) for CHD and 2.3 (95% CI 1.56-3.40) for CVD mortality, compared to normal weight. Each 5 kg/m(2) increase in BMI was associated with 24% (95% CI 16-33%) higher risk for all-cause mortality. This meta-analysis suggests that physical activity and moderate alcohol intake were associated with a reduced risk for CVD and mortality. Smoking and higher BMI were associated with an increased risk of these endpoints. Adherence to a healthy lifestyle may substantially lower the burden of CVD and reduce the risk of mortality among middle-aged and elderly women. However, this review highlights important gaps, as lack of standardized methods in assessing lifestyle factors and lack of accurate information on menopause status, which should be addressed by future studies in order to understand the role of menopause on the association between lifestyle factors and cardiovascular events.

18 May 2018 In General Health

The introduction of the term "French Paradox" motivated an extensive and in-depth research into health benefits of moderate wine consumption. The superiority of wine is thought to be attributed to its micro-constituents and consequent effort was made to isolate and identify these bioactive compounds as well as to elucidate the mechanisms of their action. Controlled trials offer more concrete answers to several raised questions than observational studies. Under this perspective, clinical trials have been implemented, mainly in healthy volunteers and rarely in patients, in order to investigate the acute or chronic effect of wine consumption on metabolism and physio-pathological systems, which are mainly associated with cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this review is to update the knowledge about the acute and long term effect of wine consumption on lipid and glucose/insulin metabolism as well as on the inflammatory and haemostatic systems, based on the reported data of controlled clinical trials. In conclusion, the most repeated result of wine consumption is on lipid metabolism, attributed mainly to ethanol, while wine micro-constituents seem to have an important role mainly in haemostatic and inflammatory/endothelial systems.

18 May 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Low-risk limits recommended for alcohol consumption vary substantially across different national guidelines. To define thresholds associated with lowest risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, we studied individual-participant data from 599 912 current drinkers without previous cardiovascular disease.

METHODS: We did a combined analysis of individual-participant data from three large-scale data sources in 19 high-income countries (the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, EPIC-CVD, and the UK Biobank). We characterised dose-response associations and calculated hazard ratios (HRs) per 100 g per week of alcohol (12.5 units per week) across 83 prospective studies, adjusting at least for study or centre, age, sex, smoking, and diabetes. To be eligible for the analysis, participants had to have information recorded about their alcohol consumption amount and status (ie, non-drinker vs current drinker), plus age, sex, history of diabetes and smoking status, at least 1 year of follow-up after baseline, and no baseline history of cardiovascular disease. The main analyses focused on current drinkers, whose baseline alcohol consumption was categorised into eight predefined groups according to the amount in grams consumed per week. We assessed alcohol consumption in relation to all-cause mortality, total cardiovascular disease, and several cardiovascular disease subtypes. We corrected HRs for estimated long-term variability in alcohol consumption using 152 640 serial alcohol assessments obtained some years apart (median interval 5.6 years [5th-95th percentile 1.04-13.5]) from 71 011 participants from 37 studies.

FINDINGS: In the 599 912 current drinkers included in the analysis, we recorded 40 310 deaths and 39 018 incident cardiovascular disease events during 5.4 million person-years of follow-up. For all-cause mortality, we recorded a positive and curvilinear association with the level of alcohol consumption, with the minimum mortality risk around or below 100 g per week. Alcohol consumption was roughly linearly associated with a higher risk of stroke (HR per 100 g per week higher consumption 1.14, 95% CI, 1.10-1.17), coronary disease excluding myocardial infarction (1.06, 1.00-1.11), heart failure (1.09, 1.03-1.15), fatal hypertensive disease (1.24, 1.15-1.33); and fatal aortic aneurysm (1.15, 1.03-1.28). By contrast, increased alcohol consumption was log-linearly associated with a lower risk of myocardial infarction (HR 0.94, 0.91-0.97). In comparison to those who reported drinking >0-100-200-350 g per week had lower life expectancy at age 40 years of approximately 6 months, 1-2 years, or 4-5 years, respectively.

INTERPRETATION: In current drinkers of alcohol in high-income countries, the threshold for lowest risk of all-cause mortality was about 100 g/week. For cardiovascular disease subtypes other than myocardial infarction, there were no clear risk thresholds below which lower alcohol consumption stopped being associated with lower disease risk. These data support limits for alcohol consumption that are lower than those recommended in most current guidelines.

FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, National Institute for Health Research, European Union Framework 7, and European Research Council.

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