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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Alcohol, Mortality and Cardiovascular Events in a 35 Year Follow-up of a Nationwide Representative Cohort of 50,000 Swedish Conscripts up to Age 55

To assess the association between drinking patterns and mortality, and cardiovascular disease in a large cohort of young- and middle-aged men and to assess whether the net balance of harm and protective effect implies protective effect or not.

Information from health examinations, psychological assessments and alcohol use background in a nationally representative birth cohort of 49,411 male military conscripts aged 18–20 years in 1969/1970, were linked to mortality and hospitalization data through 2004. Cox regression analyses were conducted and attributable proportions (APs) calculated. Confounders (baseline social status, intelligence, personality and smoking) were taken into account.

Increasing alcohol use was associated with increasing mortality (2614 deceased) and with decreasing risk for myocardial infarction (MI). The hazard ratio (HR) for mortality was 1.42 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10–1.82] with a consumption corresponding to 30 g 100% ethanol/day or more in multivariate analysis. The risk for non-fatal MI was significantly reduced at 60 g 100% ethanol/day (HR 0.37, 95% CI 0.15–0.90), not reduced for fatal MI, and non-significantly reduced for total MI. There was a marked association between alcohol use at conscription and mortality and hospitalization with alcohol-related diagnosis. APs indicate that alcohol caused 420 deaths, 61 cases of non-fatal stroke and protected from 154 cases on non-fatal MI.

Many more deaths were caused by alcohol than cases of non-fatal MI prevented. From a strict health perspective, we find no support for alcohol use in men below 55 years.

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