Page last updated: June 27, 2018

Alcohol consumption: Benefit versus harm in vascular events and overall mortality

Authors of a study in the journal Stroke state that the beneficial effect of alcohol has been documented for cardiovascular disease in a large meta-analysis, but a similar relationship has not been consistently documented for the risk of stroke due to its heterogeneity in subtypes and pathophysiology. In this context, more comprehensive approaches using a representative dataset and composite outcomes are required to clarify the differential effects of alcohol on cardio-cerebrovascular disease (CCVD).

The study was based on data from the NHIS-National Sample Cohort, a standardised cohort representative of Korean population. Based on biennial health exam at 2003 and 2004, researchers investigated the relationship between alcohol consumption and the incidence of CCVDs [ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke and myocardial infarction] and all-cause mortality until 2013, using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

Among 204,557 participants (median follow up, 9.1 years), the following events were observed: ischemic stroke 3,274; hemorrhagic stroke 1,056; myocardial infarction 1,065 ; and all-cause mortality 8,771 cases. The hazards for ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction remained below the null point for the moderate alcohol consumption, but the risk for hemorrhagic stroke increased in heavy drinkers. In composite outcome indices, moderate consumption was associated with a lower risk for CCVD and allcause mortality; however, the risk for all-cause mortality was significantly elevated in cases of heavy drinkers.

Alcohol consumption was associated with a decreased risk of both CCVD, specifically ischemic vascular disease, and all-cause mortality at moderate dose. At high levels of consumption there is an increase in the risk for Hemorrhagic stroke and mortality.

The study was presented at the International Stroke Conference held in Los Angeles in January.

Source: Alcohol Consumption: Benefit versus Harm in Vascular Events and Overall Mortality. Do Yeon Kim, Han- Gil Jeong, Chi Kyung Kim,Wookjin Yang, Dong-Wan Kang, Eun Sun Park, Seung-Hoon Lee. Stroke, January 2018, Volume 49, Issue Suppl 1.

All text and images © 2003 Alcohol In Moderation.