Alcohol Use and Non-Communicable Diseases, is there a Relationship?

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.08.02.Art030

Authors : Nelson Sabila


Background and aims: The relationship between alcohol use and non- communicable disease prevalence has puzzled researchers for many years. Alcohol use is widely practiced globally and is believed to be a major contributor to injuries, mortality and the burden of disease. This review updates knowledge on risk relations between dimensions of alcohol use and health outcomes such as; cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes and cancers.

Methods: Systematic review of reviews and meta- analyses on chronic health outcomes attributable to alcohol use. For dimensions of exposure: volume of alcohol use, alcohol concentration and patterns of drinking, in particular heavy drinking occasions were studied. In total, 89 reviews and meta-analyses were searched in Google Scholar, PubMed, Medline but 28 reviews published from 2016 onwards were included in the study.

Results: Most partly imputable illness classes showed monotonic relationships with volume of alcohol use: additional alcohol consumed posed a higher risk of disease or death. Exceptions were ischemic diseases and polygenic disease, with curvilinear relationships, and with beneficial effects of light to moderate drinking in people without heavy irregular drinking occasions. Biological pathways counsel a control of significant drinking occasions on further diseases; but, the lack of medical epidemiological studies measuring this dimension of alcohol use precluded an in-depth analysis.

Conclusions: Research confirms alcohol use as both a risk factor for non-communicable diseases and at the same time protective when taken in moderation. However, further epidemiological studies should emphasize assessment of Health outcomes based on the quantity, frequency and concentration of the alcoholic drink.


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