25 January 2019 In General Health

Alcoholic beverages, specifically wine, have been consumed for many years. Wine is postulated to play an important role in the improvement of cardiovascular risk factors. Most epidemiological studies have found sustained consumption at light-to-moderate amounts to increase HDL cholesterol, reduce platelet aggregation, and promote fibrinolysis. Wine consumption has been inversely associated with ischemic heart disease, and the alcohol-blood pressure association, in most studies, follows a J-shaped curve. These outcomes have been attributed to the molecular constituents of wine, namely ethanol and polyphenols. Due to the continued interest in wine as a biological beverage, we review the chemistry of wine as clinicians, including its chemical composition, viticulture and enological practices, and other chemical factors that influence the bioactive components of wine. We also outline the biological effects of wine components and directions for future research.

05 December 2018 In General Health

BACKGROUND: Problem drinking carries significant health burdens, including an increased risk of hypertension. The effect of chronic alcohol intake on blood pressure (BP) in women is understudied and poorly understood.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to examine the relationships between drinking habits and BP in hypertensive women.

METHODS: We analyzed drinking habits in 113 women followed in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Hypertension Clinic for at least one year.

RESULTS: Among these women with well-controlled hypertension, baseline diastolic BP was significantly lower in moderate drinkers compared with women who rarely or never drank. Changes in both systolic and diastolic BP over 12 months showed a significant negative association with changes in percent drinking days. In contrast, there was a trend toward higher baseline systolic BP among those women who consumed more drinks per drinking day.

CONCLUSIONS: Among these women with controlled hypertension, our data failed to demonstrate an association between drinking beyond recommended limits and higher disease burden. These findings parallel the widely reported difference between drinking frequency, associated with a host of positive health outcomes, and drinking intensity, associated with negative outcomes. Novel to this report is an observed reduction in blood pressure over the one-year follow-up period accompanying an increased drinking frequency in treated hypertensive women. Cautions include the suggestion that a greater number of drinks per drinking day was associated with higher baseline pressure. These data imply that drinking within sensible limits has no negative impact on chronic hypertension. In fact, for women with well-controlled hypertension, such a habit may impart benefit.

29 October 2018 In Cardiovascular System

Background: To assess sex-specific associations between risk-based alcohol drinking levels and the 10-year cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk scores and cardiovascular (CV) risk factors.

Methods: Data from 9,995 Koreans (4,249 men, 5,746 women), aged 40 to 79 years who did not have CVD and participated in the 2011 to 2013 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, were used to assess risk-based alcohol drinking levels in the past year (no drinking, drinking at low risk, and drinking at risk) categorized by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, components of the 10-year CVD risk scores using the Adult Treatment Panel III risk score and the 10-year hard atherosclerotic CVD risk score, CV risk factors, and confounding factors (age, smoking status, body mass index, educational attainment, income level, and physical activity).

Results: Drinking levels had positive associations with blood pressure and levels of glucose, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and inverse associations with levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and non-HDL-C and ratio of total cholesterol (TC) to HDL-C in men, while higher drinking levels were associated with higher HDL-C levels and lower ratio of TC to HDL-C in women after adjusting for confounding factors (p for trend < 0.001). With respect to the 10-year CVD risk scores, higher drinking levels were associated with lower scores in both sexes (p for trend < 0.001).

Conclusions: Risk-based drinking levels were more likely to have dose-dependent associations with CV risk factors in men than in women and had inverse relationships with 10-year CVD risk in both men and women.

27 July 2018 In Diabetes

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The progression of carotid-plaque volume in patients with type 2 diabetes is common. Previous observational studies showed an association between moderate alcohol and reduced risk of coronary disease. We examined whether consuming moderate wine affects the progression of carotid atherosclerosis.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: In the CASCADE (CArdiovaSCulAr Diabetes and Ethanol), a 2-year randomized controlled trial, we randomized abstainers with type 2 diabetes were to drink 150 ml of either red wine, white wine, or water, provided for 2 years. In addition, groups were guided to maintain a Mediterranean diet. We followed 2-year changes in carotid total plaque volume (carotid-TPV) and carotid vessel wall volume (carotid-VWV), using three-dimensional ultrasound.

RESULTS: Carotid images were available from 174 of the 224 CASCADE participants (67% men; age = 59 yr; HbA1C = 6.8%). Forty-five percent had detectable plaque at baseline. After 2 years, no significant progression in carotid-TPV was observed (water, -1.4 (17.0) mm(3), CI (-2.7, 5.5), white-wine, -1.2 (16.9) mm(3), CI (-3.8, 6.2), red wine, -1.3 (17.6) mm(3), CI (-3.4, 6.0; p = 0.9 between groups)). In post hoc analysis, we divided the 78 participants with detectable baseline carotid plaque into tertiles. Those with the higher baseline plaque burden, whom were assigned to drink wine, reduced their plaque volume significantly after 2 years, as compared to baseline. Two-year reductions in Apo(B)/Apo(A) ratio(s) were independently associated with regression in carotid-TPV (beta = 0.4; p < 0.001). Two-year decreases in systolic blood pressure were independently associated with regression in carotid-VWV (beta = 0.2; p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS: No progression in carotid-TPV was observed. In subgroup analyses, those with the greatest plaque burden assigned to drink wine may have had a small regression of plaque burden.

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