Alcohol consumption is inversely linked to the risk of nonfatal coronary heart disease (CHD) but not to other cardiovascular events such as ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, according to a study published in the BMJ.
Cristian Ricci, PhD, a statistician of the Nutritional Methodology and Biostatistics Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization in France, and associates conducted a multicenter case-cohort study to determine the correlation between alcohol intake and nonfatal CHD, fatal CHD, and stroke.
Participants included 32,549 volunteers without baseline CVD (ages 35-70; 52% women). The primary outcomes studied were nonfatal and fatal CHD stroke (including ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes).
Of the total cohort, the investigators reported 9307 non-fatal CHD events, 1699 fatal CHD events, 5855 non-fatal strokes, and 733 fatal strokes. The consumption of alcohol at baseline was inversely correlated with nonfatal CHD (hazard ratio [HR], 0.94 per 12 g/day higher intake). Hazard ratios for total alcohol intake of 5.0 to 14.9 g/day, 15.0 to 29.9 g/day, and 30.0 to 59.9 g/day were 0.83, 0.65, and 0.82, respectively, compared with 0.1 to 4.9 g/day.
At baseline, nonfatal and fatal stroke risks (HR, 1.04 and 1.05) had similar results as ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes for alcohol consumption of 12 g/day.
“Alcohol intake was inversely associated with non-fatal CHD risk but positively associated with the risk of different stroke subtypes,” wrote the authors. “This highlights the opposing associations of alcohol intake with different CVD types and strengthens the evidence for policies to reduce alcohol consumption.”
Ricci C, Wood A, Muller D, et al. Alcohol intake in relation to non-fatal and fatal coronary heart disease and stroke: EPIC-CVD case-cohort study. BMJ. 2018; 361:k934