Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm and Alcohol Consumption

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta. That’s the major vessel that supplies blood to the body. Most aortic aneurysms (or aneurisms) are AAA. The aorta is the primary supplier of blood to the body. Therefore, a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause bleeding leading to death. So any connection between abdominal aortic aneurysm and alcohol is important to life and health.

Risk Factors

  • Major risk factors for AAA include
  • Being over 65 years of age.
  • Smoking.
  • Being male.
  • Having atherosclerosis (clogged blood vessels).
  • A family history of AAA.

Study

abdominal aortic aneurysm and alcoholLittle is known about the relationship between drinking alcohol and the risk of developing AAA. Therefore, researchers studied 44,715 men and 35,569 women. They were from the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Their ages were 46-84 at the beginning of the study.

Alcohol consumption was measured by a food frequency questionnaire. The researchers studied population over a 14-year period (1,019,954 person-years). During that time 1,020 men and 194 women had abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Results

Drinking beer and wine in moderation was associated with a significantly lower risk of developing such an aneurysm. No effect was found for the consumption of distilled spirits. There were few heavy drinkers of any alcoholic beverage. Thus, it wasn’t possible to see if drinking large amounts of alcohol have any effects on risks.

Resources: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm and Alcohol Consumption

Reference

Stackenberg, O., et al. Alcohol consumption, specific alcoholic beverages, and abdominal aortic aneurysm. Circulation, 2014, 130, 646-652.

Readings

American Heart Assn. American Heart Association Your Heart… Complete Guide to Heart Health. NY: Pocket Books, 2011.

Ascheim, R., et al. Heart Health. Your Questions Answered. London: DK, 2009.

Chambers, R. Boost Your Heart Health. NY: Perigee, 2007.

Crocker, B. Betty Crocker Cookbook. Heart Health Edition. Hoboken: Wiley, 2008.

Gillinov, M. and Nissen, S. Heart 411. The only Guide to Heart Health You’ll Ever Need. NY: Crown, 2012.

Jackson, G. Heart Health. London: Class, 2009.

Video

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (video). NY: Films Media Group, 2013. Video covers

  • Common risk factors.
  • Signs and symptoms.
  • Testing .
  • Dangers of rupture.
  • Treatment options.
  • Lifestyle management.

Includes an animated presentation of the vascular system.