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 Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the role of alcohol as a causal factor for intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and whether its effects might vary according to the pathogenic mechanisms underlying cerebral bleeding.

METHODS: We performed a case-control analysis, comparing a cohort of consecutive white patients with ICH aged 55 years and older with a group of age- and sex-matched stroke-free controls, enrolled in the setting of the Multicenter Study on Cerebral Haemorrhage in Italy (MUCH-Italy) between 2002 and 2014. Participants were dichotomized into excessive drinkers (>45 g of alcohol) and light to moderate drinkers or nondrinkers. To isolate the unconfounded effect of alcohol on ICH, we used causal directed acyclic graphs and the back-door criterion to select a minimal sufficient adjustment set(s) of variables for multivariable analyses. Analyses were performed on the whole group as well as separately for lobar and deep ICH.

RESULTS: We analyzed 3,173 patients (1,471 lobar ICH and 1,702 deep ICH) and 3,155 controls. After adjusting for the preselected variables in the minimal sufficient adjustments, heavy alcohol intake was associated with deep ICH risk (odds ratio [OR], 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.36-2.09) as well as with the overall risk of ICH (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.17-1.63), whereas no effect was found for lobar ICH (OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.77-1.32).

CONCLUSIONS: In white people aged 55 years and older, high alcohol intake might exert a causal effect on ICH, with a prominent role in the vascular pathologies underlying deep ICH.

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.

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