27 July 2018 In General Health

AIMS: To estimate differences in the strength and shape of associations between alcohol use and diagnosis-specific sickness absence.

DESIGN: A multi-cohort study. Participants (n = 47 520) responded to a survey on alcohol use at two time-points, and were linked to records of sickness absence. Diagnosis-specific sickness absence was followed for 4-7 years from the latter survey.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: From Finland, we had population cohort survey data from 1998 and 2003 and employee cohort survey data from 2000-02 and 2004. From France and the United Kingdom, we had employee cohort survey data from 1993 and 1997, and 1985-88 and 1991-94, respectively.

MEASUREMENTS: We used standard questionnaires to assess alcohol intake categorized into 0, 1-11 and > 11 units per week in women and 0, 1-34 and > 34 units per week in men. We identified groups with stable and changing alcohol use over time. We linked participants to records from sickness absence registers. Diagnoses of sickness absence were coded according to the International Classification of Diseases. Estimates were adjusted for sex, age, socio-economic status, smoking and body mass index.

FINDINGS: Women who reported drinking 1-11 units and men who reported drinking 1-34 units of alcohol per week in both surveys were the reference group. Compared with them, women and men who reported no alcohol use in either survey had a higher risk of sickness absence due to mental disorders [rate ratio = 1.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.22-1.88], musculoskeletal disorders (1.22, 95% CI = 1.06-1.41), diseases of the digestive system (1.35, 95% CI = 1.02-1.77) and diseases of the respiratory system (1.49, 95% CI = 1.29-1.72). Women who reported alcohol consumption of > 11 weekly units and men who reported alcohol consumption of > 34 units per week in both surveys were at increased risk of absence due to injury or poisoning (1.44, 95% CI = 1.13-1.83).

CONCLUSIONS: In Finland, France and the United Kingdom, people who report not drinking any alcohol on two occasions several years apart appear to have a higher prevalence of sickness absence from work with chronic somatic and mental illness diagnoses than those drinking below a risk threshold of 11 units per week for women and 34 units per week for men. Persistent at-risk drinking in Finland, France and the United Kingdom appears to be related to increased absence due to injury or poisoning.

27 July 2018 In General Health

A routine of light or moderate alcohol consumption (4drinks/day) is associated with an increased risk for death and cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD). Excessive alcohol intake trails behind only smoking and obesity among the 3 leading causes of premature deaths in the United States (US). Heavy alcohol use is a common cause of reversible hypertension (HTN), nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation (AF), and stroke (both ischemic and hemorrhagic). Among males aged 15 to 59years, alcohol abuse is perhaps the leading cause of premature death. As such, the risk-to-benefit ratio of drinking is less favorable in younger individuals. A daily habit of light to moderate drinking is ideal for those who choose to consume alcohol regularly. Red wine in particular before or during the evening meal is linked with the best long-term CV outcomes. Most of the studies on alcohol and health are observational, and correlation does not prove causation. Health care professionals should not advise nondrinkers to begin drinking because of the paucity of randomized outcome data coupled with the potential for alcohol abuse even among seemingly low risk individuals.

27 July 2018 In Diabetes

AIMS: We investigate (a) alcohol consumption in association with type 2 diabetes, taking heavy episodic drinking (HED), socioeconomic, health and lifestyle, and psychosocial factors into account, and (b) whether a seemingly protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption on type 2 diabetes persists when stratified by occupational position.

METHODS: This population-based longitudinal cohort study comprises 16,223 Swedes aged 18-84 years who answered questionnaires about lifestyle, including alcohol consumption in 2002, and who were followed-up for self-reported or register-based diabetes in 2003-2011. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated in a multivariable-adjusted logistic regression model for all participants and stratified by high and low occupational position. We adjusted for HED, socioeconomic (occupational position, cohabiting status and unemployment), health and lifestyle (body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity, poor general health, anxiety/depression and psychosocial (low job control and poor social support) characteristics one by one, and the sets of these factors.

RESULTS: Moderate consumption was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes after controlling for health and lifestyle (OR=0.47; 95% CI: 0.29-0.79) and psychosocial factors (OR=0.40; 95% CI: 0.22-0.79) when compared to non-drinkers. When adjusting for socioeconomic factors, there was still an inverse but non-significant association (OR=0.59; 95% CI: 0.35-1.00). In those with high occupational position, there was no significant association between moderate consumption and type 2 diabetes after adjusting for socioeconomic (OR=0.67; 95% CI: 0.3-1.52), health and lifestyle (OR=0.70; 95% CI: 0.32-1.5), and psychosocial factors (OR=0.75; 95% CI: 0.23-2.46). On the contrary, in those with low occupational position, ORs decreased from 0.55 (95% CI: 0.28-1.1) to 0.35 (95% CI: 0.15-0.82) when adjusting for psychosocial factors, a decrease that was solely due to low job control. HED did not influence any of these associations.

CONCLUSIONS: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, after adjusting for HED, health and lifestyle, and psychosocial characteristics. The association was inverse but non-significant after adjusting for socioeconomic factors. When stratified by occupational position, there was an inverse association only in those with low occupational position and after adjusting for low job control.

27 July 2018 In Cardiovascular System

Moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in the general population but has not been well studied in US veterans. We obtained self-reported alcohol consumption from Million Veteran Program participants. Using electronic health records, CAD events were defined as 1 inpatient or 2 outpatient diagnosis codes for CAD, or 1 code for a coronary procedure. We excluded participants with prevalent CAD (n = 69,995) or incomplete alcohol information (n = 8,449). We used a Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for CAD, adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, race, smoking, education, and exercise. Among 156,728 participants, the mean age was 65.3 years (standard deviation = 12.1) and 91% were men. There were 6,153 CAD events during a mean follow-up of 2.9 years. Adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for CAD were 1.00 (reference), 1.02 (0.92 to 1.13), 0.83 (0.74 to 0.93), 0.77 (0.67 to 0.87), 0.71 (0.62 to 0.81), 0.62 (0.51 to 0.76), 0.58 (0.46 to 0.74), and 0.95 (0.85 to 1.06) for categories of never drinker; former drinker; current drinkers of 0.5 to 1 drink/day, >1 to 2 drinks/day, >2 to 3 drinks/day, and >3 to 4 drinks/day; and heavy drinkers (>4 drinks/day) or alcohol use disorder, respectively. For a fixed amount of ethanol, intake at >/=3 days/week was associated with lower CAD risk compared with </=1 day/week. Beverage preference (beer, wine, or liquor) did not influence the alcohol-CAD relation. Our data show a lower risk of CAD with light-to-moderate alcohol consumption among US veterans, and drinking frequency may provide a further reduction in risk.

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