Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Hospitalizations and Mortality in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

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Abstract

Background: Public health recommendations on the benefits and harms of moderate alcohol intake require a thorough and unbiased understanding of all potential effects of various levels and patterns of alcohol consumption. We seek to evaluate the associations between patterns of current and past alcohol consumption with hospitalizations and mortality. Methods: Data came from a prospective cohort of 12,327 adults (56% women, 78% white, mean age 60 years) participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study visit 3 (1993 to 1995). Current and past alcohol consumption was based on self-report. Hospitalizations and mortality were ascertained through December 31, 2017. Negative binomial and Cox proportional hazards regressions were used. Results: 24.8% of the study population reported never drinking, 48.3% reported currently drinking without a history of heavy drinking, 4.2% reported currently drinking with a history of heavy drinking, 19.2% reported being former drinkers without a history of heavy drinking, and 3.4% reported being former drinkers with a history of heavy drinking. Compared to those who reported drinking ≤1 to 7 drinks/wk, never drinkers (incident rate ratio [IRR]: 1.21 (95% confidence interval 1.13, 1.29) and former drinkers with (IRR: 1.43 [1.26, 1.63]) or without (IRR: 1.21 [1.13, 1.30]) a history of heavy drinking had a positive association with all-cause hospitalization (p < 0.001). Those who reported drinking ≤1 to 7 drinks/wk had the lowest all-cause mortality rate (19.2 per 1,000 person-years [18.4, 20.1]) and former drinkers with a history of heavy drinking had the highest (43.7 per 1,000 person-years [39.0, 49.1]). Conclusions: The positive associations with hospitalization and mortality were stronger among never and former drinkers compared to those who consume ≤1 to 7 drinks/wk. Former drinkers with a history of heavy drinking had a stronger positive association with adverse health outcomes than former drinkers without a history of heavy drinking, highlighting the impact of this pattern of alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1646-1657
Number of pages12
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume44
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Hospitalizations
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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