25 August 2020 In General Health

We investigated the relation between alcohol drinking and healthy ageing by means of a validated health status metric, using individual data from the Ageing Trajectories of Health: Longitudinal Opportunities and Synergies (ATHLOS) project.

For the purposes of this study, the ATHLOS harmonised dataset, which includes information from individuals aged 65+ in 38 countries, was analysed (n = 135,440). Alcohol drinking was reflected by means of three harmonised variables: alcohol drinking frequency, current and past alcohol drinker. A set of 41 self-reported health items and measured tests were used to generate a specific health metric. In the harmonised dataset, the prevalence of current drinking was 47.5% while of past drinking was 26.5%.

In the pooled sample, current alcohol drinking was positively associated with better health status among older adults ((b-coef (95% CI): 1.32(0.45 to 2.19)) and past alcohol drinking was inversely related (b-coef (95% CI): -0.83 (-1.51 to -0.16)) with health status. Often alcohol consumption appeared to be beneficial only for females in all super-regions except Africa, both age group categories (65-80 years old and 80+), both age group categories, as well as among all the financial status categories (all p < 0.05).

Regional analysis pictured diverse patterns in the association for current and past alcohol drinkers. Our results report the need for specific alcohol intake recommendations among older adults that will help them maintain a better health status throughout the ageing process.

25 August 2020 In General Health

OBJECTIVES: To examine the association between alcohol drinking patterns and health-related quality of life (HRQL).

METHODS: Population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in 2008-2010 among 12,715 adult individuals in Spain. HRQL was assessed with the SF-12 questionnaire and alcohol intake with a diet history. The threshold between average moderate drinking and average heavy drinking was >/= 40 g/day of alcohol in men and >/= 24 g/day in women. Binge drinking was defined as the intake of >/= 80 g in men and >/= 60 g in women at any drinking session during the preceding 30 days. Analyses were performed with linear regression and adjusted for the main confounders.

RESULTS: Compared to non-drinkers, all types of average drinkers reported better scores on the SF-12 physical component: beta=1.42 (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.81) in moderate drinkers and beta=1.86 (1.07 to 2.64) in heavy drinkers. In contrast, average alcohol consumption was not associated with the mental component of the SF-12. The number of binge drinking episodes and most types of beverage preference showed no association with physical or mental HRQL.

CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol drinkers, including those with heavy drinking, reported better physical HRQL than non-drinkers.

25 August 2020 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Some of the previously reported health benefits of low-to-moderate alcohol consumption may derive from health status influencing alcohol consumption rather than the opposite. We examined whether health status changes influence changes in alcohol consumption, cessation included.

METHODS: Data came from 571 current drinkers aged >/=60 years participating in the Seniors-ENRICA cohort in Spain. Participants were recruited in 2008-2010 and followed-up for 8.2 years, with four waves of data collection. We assessed health status using a 52-item deficit accumulation (DA) index with four domains: functional, self-rated health and vitality, mental health, and morbidity and health services use. To minimise reverse causation, we examined how changes in health status over a 3-year period (wave 0-wave 1) influenced changes in alcohol consumption over the subsequent 5 years (waves 1-3) using linear/logistic regression, as appropriate.

RESULTS: Compared with participants in the lowest tertile of DA change (mean absolute 4.3% health improvement), those in the highest tertile (7.8% worsening) showed a reduction in alcohol intake (beta: -4.32 g/day; 95% CI -7.00 to -1.62; p trend=0.002) and were more likely to quit alcohol (OR: 2.80; 95% CI 1.54 to 5.08; p trend=0.001). The main contributors to decreasing drinking were increased functional impairment and poorer self-rated health, whereas worsening self-rated health, onset of diabetes or stroke and increased prevalence of hospitalisation influenced cessation.

CONCLUSIONS: Health deterioration is related to a subsequent reduction and cessation of alcohol consumption contributing to the growing evidence challenging the protective health effect previously attributed to low-to-moderate alcohol consumption

26 February 2019 In Drinking & Eating Patterns

Low-risk thresholds for alcohol use differ across various national guidelines. To assess the novel WHO risk drinking levels in light of alcohol-sensitive common laboratory tests, we analysed biomarkers of liver status, inflammation and lipid profiles from a population-based survey of individuals classified to abstainers and different WHO risk drinking levels defined in terms of mean alcohol consumption per day. The study included 22,327 participants aged 25-74 years from the National FINRISK Study. Data on alcohol use, health status, diet, body weight and lifestyle (smoking, coffee consumption and physical activity) were recorded from structured interviews. Alcohol data from self-reports covering the past 12 months were used to categorize the participants into subgroups of abstainers and WHO risk drinking categories representing low, moderate, high and very high risk drinkers. Serum liver enzymes (GGT, ALT), C-reactive protein (CRP) and lipid profiles were measured using standard laboratory techniques. Alcohol risk category was roughly linearly related with the occurrence of elevated values for GGT, ALT and CRP. Alcohol drinking also significantly influenced the incidence of abnormalities in serum lipids. Significantly higher odds for abnormal GGT, ALT and altered lipid profiles remained in alcohol drinkers even after adjustment for age, waist circumference, physical inactivity, smoking and coffee consumption. A more systematic use of laboratory tests during treatment of individuals classified to WHO risk drinking categories may improve the assessment of alcohol-related health risks. Follow-ups of biomarker responses may also prove to be useful in health interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption.

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