26 August 2022 In Drinking Patterns

BACKGROUND: Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of several chronic diseases. In this multicohort study, we estimated the number of life-years without major chronic diseases according to different characteristics of alcohol use.

METHODS: In primary analysis, we pooled individual-level data from up to 129,942 adults across 12 cohort studies with baseline data collection on alcohol consumption, drinking patterns, and history between 1986 and 2005 (the IPD-Work Consortium). Self-reported alcohol consumption was categorised according to UK guidelines - non-drinking (never or former drinkers); moderate consumption (1-14 units); heavy consumption (>14 units per week). We further subdivided moderate and heavy drinkers by binge drinking pattern (alcohol-induced loss of consciousness). In addition, we assessed problem drinking using linked data on hospitalisations due to alcohol abuse or poisoning. Follow-up for chronic diseases for all participants included incident type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease (asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) as ascertained via linkage to national morbidity and mortality registries, repeated medical examinations, and/or self-report. We estimated years lived without any of these diseases between 40 and 75 years of age according to sex and characteristics of alcohol use. We repeated the main analyses using data from 427,621 participants in the UK Biobank cohort study.

FINDINGS: During 1.73 million person-years at risk, 22,676 participants in IPD-Work cohorts developed at least one chronic condition. From age 40 to 75 years, never-drinkers [men: 29.3 (95%CI 27.9-30.8) years, women 29.8 (29.2-30.4) years)] and moderate drinkers with no binge drinking habit [men 28.7 (28.4-29.0) years, women 29.6 (29.4-29.7) years] had the longest disease-free life span. A much shorter disease-free life span was apparent in participants who experienced alcohol poisoning [men 23.4 (20.9-26.0) years, women 24.0 (21.4-26.5) years] and those with self-reported heavy overall consumption and binge drinking [men: 26.0 (25.3-26.8), women 27.5 (26.4-28.5) years]. The pattern of results for alcohol poisoning and self-reported alcohol consumption was similar in UK Biobank. In IPD-Work and UK Biobank, differences in disease-free years between self-reported moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers were 1.5 years or less.

INTERPRETATION: Individuals with alcohol poisonings or heavy self-reported overall consumption combined with a binge drinking habit have a marked 3- to 6-year loss in healthy longevity. Differences in disease-free life between categories of self-reported weekly alcohol consumption were smaller. Funding: Medical Research Council, National Institute on Aging, NordForsk, Academy of Finland, Finnish Work Environment Fund.

26 August 2022 In Drinking Patterns

INTRODUCTION: A significant amount of binge drinking among adults escapes public health scrutiny because it occurs among individuals who drink at a moderate average level. This observational study examined the role of a binge pattern of drinking in predicting alcohol problems among moderate drinkers in a U.S. national sample of adults.

METHODS: Participants were 1,229 current drinkers aged >/=30 years from 2 waves of the study of Midlife Development in the United States, with a 9-year time lag (2004-2015) (analyzed in 20212022). Negative binomial regression analyses were used to examine the number of alcohol problems, and binary logistic regression analyses were used to examine multiple (>/=2) alcohol problems.

RESULTS: Independent of the average level of drinking, binge drinking was linked with an almost 3 times increase in the number of concurrent alcohol problems and a 40% increase in the number of alcohol problems prospectively 9 years later. Moderate average level drinkers accounted for most cases of binge drinking and multiple alcohol problems. Among moderate drinkers, binge drinking was linked with a close to 5 times increase in concurrent multiple alcohol problems and a >2 times increase in multiple alcohol problems prospectively 9 years later.

CONCLUSIONS: These results substantially broaden an increasing recognition that binge drinking is a public health concern among adults. Moderate average-level drinkers should be included in efforts to reduce alcohol problems in adults. These findings are applicable to primary and secondary prevention of alcohol problems with the potential to advance population health.

26 August 2022 In Drinking Patterns

This review discusses the inconsistent recommendations on alcohol consumption and its association with chronic disease, highlighting the need for an evidence-based consensus. Alcohol is an addictive substance consumed worldwide, especially in European countries. Recommendations on alcohol consumption are controversial.

On one hand, many nonrandomized studies defend that moderate consumption has a beneficial cardiovascular effect or a lower risk of all-cause mortality. On the other hand, alcohol is associated with an increased risk of cancer, neurological diseases, or injuries, among others.

For years, efforts have been made to answer the question regarding the safe amount of alcohol intake, but controversies remain. Observational studies advocate moderate alcohol consumption following a Mediterranean pattern (red wine with meals avoiding binge drinking) as the best option for current drinkers.

However, agencies such as the IARC recommend abstention from alcohol as it is a potent carcinogen. In this context, more randomized trial with larger sample size and hard clinical endpoints should be conducted to clarify the available evidence and provide clinicians with support for their clinical practice.

26 August 2022 In Drinking Patterns

Older adults of today consume more alcohol, yet knowledge about the factors associated with different consumption levels is limited in this age group. Based on the data from a population-based sample (n = 1156, 539 men and 617 women) in The Gothenburg H70 Birth Cohort Study 2014-16, we examined sociodemographic, social, and health-related factors associated with alcohol consumption levels in 70-year-olds, using logistic regression. Total weekly alcohol intake was calculated based on the self-reported amount of alcohol consumed.

Alcohol consumption was categorized as lifetime abstention, former drinking, moderate consumption (98 g/week). At-risk consumption was further categorized into lower at-risk (98-196 g/week), medium at-risk (196-350 g/week), and higher at-risk (>/=350 g/week). We found that among the 1156 participants, 3% were lifetime abstainers, 3% were former drinkers, 64% were moderate drinkers, and 30% were at-risk drinkers (20% lower, 8% medium, 2% higher).

Among several factors, former drinking was associated with worse general self-rated health (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.08-2.51) and lower health-related quality of life (measured by physical component score) (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.91-0.97), higher illness burden (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.07-1.27), and weaker grip strength (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.94-0.98). Higher at-risk drinkers more often had liver disease (OR 11.41, 95% CI 3.48-37.37) and minor depression (OR 4.57, 95% CI 1.40-14.95), but less contacts with health care (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.11-0.92).

Our findings demonstrate the importance of classifications beyond abstinence and at-risk consumption, with implications for both the prevention and clinical management of unhealthy consumption patterns in older adults.

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