SHOULD WE CONSIDER AN ACCEPTABLE DRINKING LEVEL SPECIFICALLY FOR POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN? PRELIMINARY FINDINGS FROM THE POSTMENOPAUSAL HEALTH DISPARITIES STUDY


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Abstract

AimsThere are substantial neuroendocrine differences between postmenopausal (PMP) women and women with cyclic ovarian function; thus there are differences in hormonal responses to ‘acceptable’ levels of drinking, i.e. 7 total weekly drinks (TWD). The aim is to evaluate whether alcoholic beverage consumption for PMP women should be the same for all women, as is currently the case, or different from that for women with cyclic ovarian function.MethodsCarefully collected and cross-checked current drinking data in 318 PMP women from a spectrum of racial and ethnic groups have been analysed to determine if a plateau in estradiol (E2) levels at a particular alcohol consumption level other than 7 TWD can be identified as the drinking level above which no additional benefit in E2 levels occurs.ResultsLevels of E2 are significantly different among abstainers and among drinkers within all racial and ethnic groups, with the disturbing exception of black PMP women. Although there are significant differences among racial and ethnic groups in the proportions of women who drink, there are no differences in TWD consumed during the previous month. Between ≤5 TWD and ≤6 TWD, a plateau in the correlation of E2 with increasing drinks/week occurs, and the range of the unstandardized multiple regression coefficient ± the standard error do not overlap between these same two drinking levels (P < 0.05).ConclusionsConsideration should be given to lowering the acceptable level of drinking for PMP women 5 TWD. Additional studies in which sample sizes for each minority racial and ethnic are larger need to be performed in the future.

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