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Kardiol Pol. 2013;71(4):359-65. doi: 10.5603/KP.2013.0063.

Alcohol intake and cardiovascular risk factor profile in men participating in the WOBASZ study.

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Department of Epidemiology, Cardiovascular Diseases Prevention, and Health Promotion, Institute of Cardiology, Warsaw, Poland.



Studies showed that alcohol intake affects various biomarkers (lipids, blood pressure [BP], homocysteine, diabetes, haemostatic factors) associated with the risk of coronary heart disease.


To determinate cardiovascular (CV) risk factor profile in a population Polish men stratified according to alcohol intake.


Within the frame of the National Multicentre Health Survey (WOBASZ), a sample of 6912 men aged 20-74 years representative for the general population in Poland was screened in 2003-2005. A wide range of CV risk factors was assessed in all participants on the basis of questionnaires, laboratory tests, anthropometric studies, and BP measurements. Annual beer, wine and vodka intake was assessed using a standardised questionnaire, and daily pure ethanol intake was calculated. The studied subjects were divided into 4 groups: abstainers (A), light drinkers (L; ≤ 15 g ethanol/day), moderate drinkers (M; 15-30 g ethanol/day), and heavy drinkers (H; > 30 g ethanol/day).


A positive association between alcohol consumption and systolic BP (A: 134.0, L: 136.9, M: 139.7, H: 141.3 mm Hg), diastolic BP (81.1, 83.3, 85.9, 87.1 mm Hg, respectively), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level (1.25, 1.34, 1.45, 1.61 mmol/L, respectively), and triglyceride level (1.59, 1.63, 1.82, 2.00 mmol/L, respectively) was observed. After adjustment for confounding factors, moderate drinkers were found to have a 37% higher risk of hypertension, a 25% higher risk of elevated trigliceride level, a 40% lower risk of low HDL-C level and a 35% lower risk of diabetes compared to light drinkers. Heavy alcohol consumption increased the likelihood of hypertension by 52%, elevated triglycerides by 46% and hyperhomocysteinaemia by 95%, and decreased the likelihood of low HDL-C by 44%.


In the Polish population, negative consequences of alcohol intake were seen among men who consumed more than 15 g of ethanol daily. A potential positive effect of alcohol consumption, as manifested by higher HDL-C level a lower likelihood of diabetes (only with moderate alcohol intake), was counterbalanced by a negative effect on BP, homocysteinaemia, and triglycerides.

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