Academic journal article Alcohol Research

Chronic Diseases and Conditions Related to Alcohol Use

Academic journal article Alcohol Research

Chronic Diseases and Conditions Related to Alcohol Use

Article excerpt

Alcohol consumption is a risk factor for many chronic diseases and conditions. The average volume of alcohol consumed, consumption patterns, and quality of the alcoholic beverages consumed likely have a causal impact on the mortality and morbidity related to chronic diseases and conditions. Twenty-five chronic disease and condition codes in the International Classification of Disease (ICD)-10 are entirely attributable to alcohol, and alcohol plays a component-risk role in certain cancers, other tumors, neuropsychiatric conditions, and numerous cardiovascular and digestive diseases. Furthermore, alcohol has both beneficial and detrimental impacts on diabetes, ischemic stroke, and ischemic heart disease, depending on the overall volume of alcohol consumed, and, in the case of ischemic diseases, consumption patterns. However, limitations exist to the methods used to calculate the relative risks and alcohol-attributable fractions. Furthermore, new studies and confounders may lead to additional diseases being causally linked to alcohol consumption, or may disprove the relationship between alcohol consumption and certain diseases that currently are considered to be causally linked. These limitations do not affect the conclusion that alcohol consumption significantly contributes to the burden of chronic diseases and conditions globally, and that this burden should be a target for intervention. KEY WORDS: Alcohol consumption; alcohol use frequency; chronic diseases; disorders; mortality; morbidity; alcohol-attributable fractions (AAF); risk factors; relative risk; AOD-induced risk; cancers; neuropsychiatric disorders; cardiovascular diseases; digestive diseases; diabetes; ischemic stroke; ischemic heart disease; burden of disease

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Alcohol has been a part of human culture for all of recorded history, with almost all societies in which alcohol is consumed experiencing net health and social problems (McGovern 2009; Tramacere et al. 2012b, c). With the industrialization of alcohol production and the globalization of its marketing and promotion, alcohol con- sumption and its related harms have increased worldwide (see Alcohol Consumption Trends, in this issue). This has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to pass multiple resolutions to address this issue over the past few years, including the World Health Assembly's Global Strategy to Reduce the Harmful Use of Alcohol, which was passed in May 2010. Of growing concern are noncommunicable chronic diseases and conditions that have been shown to contribute substantially to the alcohol-attributable burden of disease (Rehm et al. 2009). Specifically, in 2004 an estimated 35 million deaths and 603 million disability-adjusted life- years (DALYs) lost were caused by chronic diseases and con- ditions globally (WHO 2008); alcohol was responsible for 3.4 percent of the deaths and 2.4 percent of DALYs caused by these conditions (Parry et al. 2011). To address the burden of chronic diseases and conditions, the United Nation (UN) General Assembly passed Resolution 64/265 in May of 2010, calling for their prevention and control (UN 2010). This resolution is intended to garner multisectoral commitment and facilitate action on a global scale to address the fact that alcohol (together with tobacco, lack of exercise, and diet) plays a significant role in chronic diseases and conditions. It is noteworthy that cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes in particular have been highlighted for targeted action (UN 2010) because alcohol is a risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases and cancers and has both beneficial and detrimental effects on diabetes and ischemic cardiovascular diseases,1 depending on the amount of alcohol consumed and the patterns of consumption.

Building on previous reviews concerning alcohol and disease (Rehm et al. 2003a, 2009), this article presents an up-to- date and in-depth overview of the relationship of alcohol consumption and high-risk drinking patterns and the initia- tion/exacerbation and treatment of various chronic diseases and conditions. …

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