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Association of alcohol use with years lived without major chronic diseases: A multicohort study from the IPD-Work consortium and UK Biobank

Background: Heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk of several chronic diseases. In this multicohort study, we estimated the number of life-years without major chronic diseases according to different characteristics of alcohol use.

Methods: In primary analysis, we pooled individual-level data from up to 129,942 adults across 12 cohort studies with baseline data collection on alcohol consumption, drinking patterns, and history between 1986 and 2005 (the IPD-Work Consortium). Self-reported alcohol consumption was categorised according to UK guidelines - non-drinking (never or former drinkers); moderate consumption (1-14 units); heavy consumption (>14 units per week). We further subdivided moderate and heavy drinkers by binge drinking pattern (alcohol-induced loss of consciousness). In addition, we assessed problem drinking using linked data on hospitalisations due to alcohol abuse or poisoning. Follow-up for chronic diseases for all participants included incident type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory disease (asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) as ascertained via linkage to national morbidity and mortality registries, repeated medical examinations, and/or self-report. We estimated years lived without any of these diseases between 40 and 75 years of age according to sex and characteristics of alcohol use. We repeated the main analyses using data from 427,621 participants in the UK Biobank cohort study.

Findings: During 1·73 million person-years at risk, 22,676 participants in IPD-Work cohorts developed at least one chronic condition. From age 40 to 75 years, never-drinkers [men: 29·3 (95%CI 27·9–30·8) years, women 29·8 (29·2–30·4) years)] and moderate drinkers with no binge drinking habit [men 28·7 (28·4–29·0) years, women 29·6 (29·4–29·7) years] had the longest disease-free life span. A much shorter disease-free life span was apparent in participants who experienced alcohol poisoning [men 23·4 (20·9–26·0) years, women 24·0 (21·4–26·5) years] and those with self-reported heavy overall consumption and binge drinking [men: 26·0 (25·3–26·8), women 27·5 (26·4–28·5) years]. The pattern of results for alcohol poisoning and self-reported alcohol consumption was similar in UK Biobank. In IPD-Work and UK Biobank, differences in disease-free years between self-reported moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers were 1·5 years or less.

Interpretation: Individuals with alcohol poisonings or heavy self-reported overall consumption combined with a binge drinking habit have a marked 3- to 6-year loss in healthy longevity. Differences in disease-free life between categories of self-reported weekly alcohol consumption were smaller.

This article is published in the Journal "The Lancet Regional Health - Europe" (2022).

Bibliographic information

Solja T. Nyberg, G. D. Batty, J. Pentti, I. E. H. Madsen, L. Alfredsson, J. B. Bjorner, M. Borritz, H. Burr, J. Ervasti, M. Goldberg, M. Jokela, A. Knutsson, A. Koskinen, T. Lallukka, J. V. Lindbohm, M. L. Nielsen, T. Oksanen, J. H. Pejtersen, et. al.:
Association of alcohol use with years lived without major chronic diseases: A multicohort study from the IPD-Work consortium and UK Biobank
in: The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, Volume 19 2022. pages 1-16, DOI: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2022.100417

download file "Association of alcohol use with years lived without major chronic diseases: A multicohort study from the IPD-Work--Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations consortium and UK Biobank" (PDF, 1 MB, Not barrier-free file)

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