Alcohol and Hospitalization (Alcohol Drinking Predicts Future Hospitalization)

I. Background. 

             Overview

I.    Background

II.   Study of Alcohol and Hospitalization

III. Results

IV.  Probable Reasons

V.   Hospitalization Needed?

VI.  Source

VII. Resources

Alcohol and hospitalization are connected. Heavy drinkers appear more likely to use hospitals than non-drinkers. This is not surprising. But what about light drinkers and moderate drinkers? There is extensive evidence that light and moderate alcohol consumption leads to better health. That’s in comparison with with either non-drinking or heavy drinking. Does such drinking predict the frequency or total days of future hospital admission from any cause?

II. Study of Alcohol and Hospitalization

To learn the answer, this study looked at 10,883 men and 12,857 women aged 40 to 79. They were from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer in Norfolk. This is a general population cohort of people age 40–79 years living in East Alglica. The survey followed them for ten years. The current scholars compared drinking levels with later frequency and length of hospitalization. In doing so, they controlled for age, occupation, education, smoking, body mass index, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and cancer.

III. Results

alcohol and hospitalizationThe study found that alcohol drinkers were much less likely than non-drinkers to later go to a hospital. This included heavy drinkers. That may be because there were very few heavy drinkers.

Men who drank alcohol used hospitals about as often as teetotaling men. However, they stayed for much shorter lengths of time. Women who drank were much less likely to use hospitals than abstainers. In addition, they stayed for many fewer days.

IV. Probable Reasons

Heart diseases and strokes cause about half of all deaths in Western Societies. However, light and moderate drinking reduces the risk of these major diseases by almost half. Also, such drinking is associated with reduced risk of many other diseases (see Alcohol and Health). Moreover, alcohol consumption is not a risk factor for the vast majority of cancers. And for those remaining cancers, it is usually only a risk factor for heavy drinking (see Alcohol and Cancer Risk).

V. Hospitalization Needed?

It’s important to know if you might need to go to a hospital. In particular, both heart attacks and strokes benefit greatly from prompt medical care.

Heart Attack

There are many common signs of heart attack.

  • Heavy feeling in chestalcohol and hospitalization
  • Pain in arm, back, or jaw.
  • Anxiety
  • Short breath
  • Heart racing
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting

But if you’re ever in the slightest doubt, get medical help fast. Never take a chance of dying.

Stroke

The American Stroke Association suggests using “FAST” to remember signs of stroke. It’s easy.

F – Face Drooping. One side of face drooping?

A – Arm Weakness. One arm weak or numb?

S – Speech Difficulty. Suddenly slurred speech?

T – Time to Call 9-1-1. Call 9-1-1 if even a single one of the symptoms happens. And call even if the symptom disappears.

In addition, other symptoms can include loss of vision, unusual walk, weakness on one side of the body, or severe headache.

Risk Factors

Stroke and heart disease share many of the same risk factors. They include these.

  • Abstaining from alcohol.alcohol and hospitalization
  • Abusing alcohol.
  • Being overweight
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure.
  • High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels or low HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels.
  • Family history of stroke or heart attack
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking

Fortunately, we can control most of the big risk factors. And that’s for both both stroke and heart disease.

VI. Source

Luben, R., et al. Alcohol consumption and future hospital usage. The EPIC-Norfolk prospective population study, PLOS, July 18, 2018.

VII. Resources

Are you at risk of a heart attack?

Emergency Department. What to Expect.

Emergency Room. What to Expect.

Off Nat Stat. Alcohol-specific deaths in the UK. London: 2018.

Rinzler, C. and Graf, M. Controlling Cholesterol for Dummies. Hoboken: Wiley, 2018.

Taylor, L, et al. Can I Tell You about Having a Stroke? A Guide for Friends, Family and Professionals. London: Kingsley, 2015.