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Alcohol’s Effects on the Cardiovascular System

Alcohol use has complex effects on cardiovascular (CV) health. The associations between drinking and CV diseases such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and cardiomyopathy have been studied extensively and are outlined in this review. Although many behavioral, genetic, and biologic variants influence the interconnection between alcohol use and CV disease...

Effects of Alcohol on the Cardiovascular System in Women

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality for women. This review summarizes the relationship between alcohol consumption and common CVDs in women and highlights potential differences from men. Except for risk of hypertension, no sex-related effects of alcohol consumption on the risk for coronary heart disease and stroke have been reported, and data on the sex...

How Does Stress Lead to Risk of Alcohol Relapse?

It has long been known that stress increases the risk of alcohol relapse (Sinha 2001). Clinical observations, surveys, and epidemiological studies document an association between self-reports of stressors and subsequent return to drinking. Studies assessing alcohol relapse after treatment completion and discharge also indicate the contribution of highly stressful events independent of alcohol use...

Chronic Diseases and Conditions Related to Alcohol Use

Alcohol has been a part of human culture for all of recorded history, with almost all societies in which alcohol is consumed experiencing net health and social problems (McGovern 2009; Tramacere et al. 2012b, c). With the industrialization of alcohol production and the globalization of its marketing and promotion, alcohol consumption and its related harms have increased worldwide (see Alcohol...

Natural Recovery by the Liver and Other Organs After Chronic Alcohol Use

Introduction

A vast body of evidence from human studies and animal research clearly indicates that chronic, heavy alcohol consumption causes structural damage and/or disrupts normal organ function in virtually every tissue of the body. In heavy consumers of alcohol, the liver is especially susceptible to alcohol-induced injury.1,2 Additionally, several other organs—including the...

Alcohol Misuse and Kidney Injury: Epidemiological Evidence and Potential Mechanisms

Chronic alcohol consumption is a well-known risk factor for tissue injury. The link between alcohol use disorder (AUD) and kidney injury is intriguing but controversial, and the molecular mechanisms by which alcohol may damage the kidneys are poorly understood. Epidemiological studies attempting to link AUD and kidney disease are, to date, inconclusive, and there is little experimental evidence...

Clinical Laboratory Stressors Used to Study Alcohol–Stress Relationships

A comprehensive understanding of the relationship between stress and alcohol use is important for understanding the risks of developing alcohol problems and subsequent relapse. Although the relationship is complex, substantial evidence supports that exposure to chronic stress early in life (e.g., Sher et al. 1997), adult trauma (Kessler et al. 1995), and the presence of anxiety disorders (Grant et...

Drinking Across the Lifespan: Focus on Older Adults

In 2010, when the leading edge of the post–World War II “Baby Boom” reached age 65, the United States began a period of increased growth in its older adult population. By 2030, it is expected that there will be 72.1 million adults age 65 or older living in the United States, almost double the 2008 population. Those older adults will represent 19.3 percent of the U.S. population, compared with 12...

Binge Drinking - Editor's Note

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of consumption that causes blood alcohol concentration to rise to .08%—the legal limit for adults ages 21 or older operating a motor vehicle—or more. This level typically occurs after a woman consumes four drinks or a man consumes five drinks—in about 2 hours. Research suggests that three out of four...

Sleep and Alcohol Use in Women

Sleep disturbance is common among individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Insomnia not only is a pathway toward alcohol consumption but also is related to increased risk of relapse, psychosocial impairment, decreased quality of life, and suicidal ideation in individuals with AUD. Few studies examining sleep disturbance and alcohol use have explored how this relationship differs between men...