The relationship between alcohol drinking and risk of cardiovascular disease is controversial. The INTERHEART study demonstrated that regular alcohol drinking three or more times per week may reduce the incidence of acute myocardial infarction. On the other hand, it is well known that excessive alcohol consumption could increase blood pressure levels. Limited evidence exists regarding the relationship between the frequency of alcohol drinking and vascular stiffness determined by the pulse wave velocity (PWV), as a marker of arterial damage.Objective:
We aimed to determine the association between the weekly frequency of alcohol drinking (WFAD) and vascular stiffness determined by PWV.Design and method:
We prospectively included individuals from twelve countries in Latin America who provided information about cardiovascular history and lifestyle (WHO Steps survey), and performed a measurement of PWV by Mobil-O-Graph device. Alcohol drinking was categorized as 0 (no or unusual drinkers), 1 or 2, 3 or 4, 5 or 6 and 7 days per week (d/w). We used regression models to evaluate the association between WFAD and PWV, adjusted for baseline variables.Results:
In all, 1026 individuals were included (52% women, age 50.2 ± 15.2 years). Prevalence of hypertension was 38.8%, diabetes 10.5%, smoking 8.1% and dyslipidemia 37.9%. Mean PWV was 7.57 m/s (SD 1.8, range 4.1–15.0 m/s). Distribution of participants in WFAD categories was 0: 39.9%; 1 or 2: 26%; 3 or 4: 10.8%; 5 or 6: 14.5%; and 7: 8.8%. PWV mean values were for WFAD categories: 0: 7.5 m/s; 1 or 2: 7 m/s; 3 or 4: 7.7 m/s; 5 or 6: 7.8 m/s; and 7: 8.8 m/s. All groups showed a p < 0.05 when compared with group of 1 or 2 d/w. In the adjusted analysis, WFAD was significantly associated with PWV.Conclusions:
The weekly frequency of alcohol drinking showed a significant positive association with vascular stiffness (PWV). Increased PWV in “no or unusual drinkers”, and in those who drink “3 or more days per week” support once again a J-shaped curve between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular risk.