BACKGROUND: Hazardous and harmful alcohol use and high blood pressure are central risk factors related to premature non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality worldwide. A reduction in the prevalence of both risk factors has been suggested as a route to reach the global NCD targets. This study aims to highlight that screening and interventions for hypertension and hazardous and harmful alcohol use in primary healthcare can contribute substantially to achieving the NCD targets.

METHODS: A consensus conference based on systematic reviews, meta-analyses, clinical guidelines, experimental studies, and statistical modelling which had been presented and discussed in five preparatory meetings, was undertaken. Specifically, we modelled changes in blood pressure distributions and potential lives saved for the five largest European countries if screening and appropriate intervention rates in primary healthcare settings were increased. Recommendations to handle alcohol-induced hypertension in primary healthcare settings were derived at the conference, and their degree of evidence was graded.

RESULTS: Screening and appropriate interventions for hazardous alcohol use and use disorders could lower blood pressure levels, but there is a lack in implementing these measures in European primary healthcare. Recommendations included (1) an increase in screening for hypertension (evidence grade: high), (2) an increase in screening and brief advice on hazardous and harmful drinking for people with newly detected hypertension by physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals (evidence grade: high), (3) the conduct of clinical management of less severe alcohol use disorders for incident people with hypertension in primary healthcare (evidence grade: moderate), and (4) screening for alcohol use in hypertension that is not well controlled (evidence grade: moderate). The first three measures were estimated to result in a decreased hypertension prevalence and hundreds of saved lives annually in the examined countries.

CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of the outlined recommendations could contribute to reducing the burden associated with hypertension and hazardous and harmful alcohol use and thus to achievement of the NCD targets. Implementation should be conducted in controlled settings with evaluation, including, but not limited to, economic evaluation.

Published in General Health

BACKGROUND: Heavy episodic drinking (HED) or consuming 4+/5+ drinks in 1 occasion for women/men is linked consistently with alcohol-related harms. Recent research suggests that many individuals drink at levels more than twice this cutoff (8+/10+ drinks), commonly referred to as "high-intensity drinking." Prevalence rates of high-intensity drinking and its dynamic association with alcohol use disorder (AUD) across all ages, however, remain unknown. The current study used data from a nationally representative sample to document age-varying prevalence rates of HED-only drinking and high-intensity drinking, prevalence rates of AUD for HED-only drinkers and high-intensity drinkers, and relative odds of experiencing an AUD for high-intensity drinkers as compared to HED-only drinkers.

METHODS: Data were from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions-III. The final analytic sample consisted of past-year drinkers aged 18 to 64 years (n = 22,776).

RESULTS: Time-varying effect modeling revealed that high-intensity drinking and HED-only drinking were equally prevalent during young adulthood and prevalence rates of both types of drinking generally became less common with increasing age. At all ages, high-intensity drinkers were at 3 or more times greater odds of meeting criteria for an AUD than HED-only drinkers. The association between high-intensity relative to HED-only drinking was strongest earlier in adulthood with approximately 83% of 18-year-old high-intensity drinkers having AUD relative to 42% of HED-only drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: Future research aiming to identify drinkers most at risk of harms and in need of treatment may benefit from assessing the extent to which an individual exceeds the 8+/10+ threshold of drinking.

Published in Drinking Patterns

To better understand the association of alcohol intake with cognitively healthy longevity (CHL), we explored the association between amount and frequency of alcohol intake and CHL among 1,344 older community-dwelling adults. Alcohol intake was assessed by questionnaire in 1984-1987. Cognitive function was assessed in approximate four-year intervals between 1988 and 2009. Multinomial logistic regression, adjusting for multiple lifestyle and health factors, was used to examine the association between alcohol consumption and CHL (living to age 85 without cognitive impairment), survival to age 85 with cognitive impairment (MMSE score >1.5 standard deviations below expectation for age, sex, and education), or death before age 85. Most participants (88%) reported some current alcohol intake; 49% reported a moderate amount of alcohol intake, and 48% reported drinking near-daily. Relative to nondrinkers, moderate and heavy drinkers (up to 3 drinks/day for women and for men 65 years and older, up to 4 drinks/day for men under 65 years) had significantly higher adjusted odds of survival to age 85 without cognitive impairment (p's < 0.05). Near-daily drinkers had 2-3 fold higher adjusted odds of CHL versus living to at least age 85 with cognitive impairment (odds ratio (OR) = 2.06; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.21, 3.49) or death before 85 (OR = 3.24; 95% CI: 1.92, 5.46). Although excessive drinking has negative health consequences, these results suggest that regular, moderate drinking may play a role in cognitively healthy longevity.

Published in General Health

Meta-analyses of alcohol use, alcohol dosage and alcohol-related problems as risk factors for tuberculosis incidence were undertaken. The global alcohol-attributable tuberculosis burden of disease was also re-estimated.Systematic searches were conducted, reference lists were reviewed and expert consultations were held to identify studies. Cohort and case-control studies were included if there were no temporal violations of exposure and outcome. Risk relations (RRs) were pooled by using categorical and dose-response meta-analyses. The alcohol-attributable tuberculosis burden of disease was estimated by using alcohol-attributable fractions.36 of 1108 studies were included. RRs for alcohol use and alcohol-related problems were 1.35 (95% CI 1.09-1.68; I2: 83%) and 3.33 (95% CI 2.14-5.19; 87%), respectively. Concerning alcohol dosage, tuberculosis risk rose as ethanol intake increased, with evidence of a threshold effect. Alcohol consumption caused 22.02 incident cases (95% CI 19.70-40.77) and 2.35 deaths (95% CI 2.05-4.79) per 100 000 people from tuberculosis in 2014. Alcohol-attributable tuberculosis incidence increased between 2000 and 2014 in most high tuberculosis burden countries, whereas mortality decreased.Alcohol consumption was associated with an increased risk of tuberculosis in all meta-analyses. It was consequently a major contributor to the tuberculosis burden of disease.

Published in General Health
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The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer.