|There have been studies that explored the connection between alcohol consumption and chronic diseases and other serious problems such as liver disease, digestive problems, heart disease, and high blood pressure / Photo by: belchonock via 123RF|
There have been studies that explored the connection between alcohol consumption and chronic diseases and other serious problems such as liver disease, digestive problems, heart disease, and high blood pressure. However, the association between alcohol use and lung health has not been widely researched.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Wine Consumption
While previous studies claimed that lungs are adversely affected by alcohol abuse, a new study conducted by UK-based University of the West of England, Bristol and Sweden-based Karolinska Institute revealed that low-to-moderate wine consumption lowers the risk of lung disease in men. They particularly highlighted chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The researchers surveyed more than 44,000 men, who are 45 to 79 years old. They began monitoring their health since 1998 when they were diagnosed with COPD until 2014. Researchers considered the following factors in their study: the subjects’ weight, age, body mass index, economic class, level of education, health, and other various factors. They established that 24.4 percent of the participants were smokers, 35.8 percent never smoked, and 38.5 percent were men who smoked in the past but already quit. The team likewise asked them how much they were drinking every week. The group of Swedish men in their study was assessed with a self-administered questionnaire.
One standard drink in their study would mean 12 grams of ethanol, which was equivalent to 5 ounces of wine. The ethanol content was just slightly lower than the standard glass of wine (14 grams) set by the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, as compared by lifestyle magazine Wine Spectator.
Moderate Wine Drinkers, Low Incidence of COPD
The results of the study showed that moderate wine drinkers have a lower incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease compared to heavy drinkers and abstainers. In fact, those who did not drink alcohol had a 21 percent higher chance of lung disease than people who drank moderately, which is roughly between 7 and 14 drinks per week. On the other hand, those who consumed more than 20 drinks every week (heavy drinkers) had a 34 percent higher risk of acquiring COPD compared to moderate drinkers.
The team said that they adjusted the results to consider other confounding factors. For example, the first result was that wine drinkers were people who had a higher income than liquor drinkers. Liquor drinkers among the study subjects were likely to be smokers as well. They also noted that men who consumed one or more wine glasses every week tended to have earned a college degree. They first theorized that smoking and income both affected the incidence of lung diseases and the health outcomes of the subjects. So, they adjusted the confounding factors and were surprised to still find that low-to-moderate wine drinkers still had a lower risk of lung disease.
|The team said that they adjusted the results to consider other confounding factors. For example, the first result was that wine drinkers were people who had a higher income than liquor drinkers / Photo by: Cathy Yeulet via 123RF|
The Antioxidant Effect of Polyphenols
The authors believed that the antioxidant effect of polyphenols present in alcohol and wine creates protection for moderate wine drinkers. Yet, they acknowledged that moderate drinking alone is not the single factor for the positive health outcomes on the lung health of the subjects. They said that they had little data on some COPD causes, like pollution, fumes, and chemicals aside from smoking that the test subjects were exposed to. They said that further research should be done on the antioxidant properties of beer and wine to help bolster their research.
As to the share of men and women aged 15 and older who smoke any tobacco product on a daily or non-daily basis per country were detailed as follows by scientific online publication Our World in Data: Russia (39.3 percent of adults), China (35.6 percent), Ukraine (28.9 percent), United States (21.8 percent), Canada (14.3 percent), Mexico (14 percent), Colombia (9 percent), Peru (4.8 percent), Brazil (13.9 percent), Argentina (21.8 percent), Chile (37.8 percent), South Africa (20.3 percent), Namibia (21.4 percent), India (11.5 percent), Iran (11 percent), Myanmar (20.3 percent), Thailand (19.9 percent), Laos (28.9 percent), South Korea (23.3 percent), Japan (22.1 percent), Philippines (24.3 percent), Indonesia (39.4 percent), and Australia (14.7 percent).
|The authors believed that the antioxidant effect of polyphenols present in alcohol and wine creates protection for moderate wine drinkers / Photo by: Jean-Luc Girolet via 123RF|
Furthermore, world statistics showed that one in five adults smoke tobacco. Countries, where people smoke the most, are Kiribati (47 percent), Montenegro (46 percent), Greece (43 percent), Timor (43 percent, and Nauru (40 percent). Countries, where fewer people smoke, are Ethiopia, Peru, Ghana, and Honduras, where only less than five percent of adults smoke.
Our World in Data stated that there are various factors that influence the prevalence of smoking, such as prosperity. It discovered that richer countries tend to smoke more.
In the US, there are about 16 million people diagnosed with COPD but the American Lung Association believes that the number is an underestimate as there may be about 24 million adults in America that are living with COPD. The disease encompasses chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, and asthma.
A 2015 study titled “Alcohol’s Effects on Lung Health and Immunity,” which appeared in the journal Alcohol Research, explained that the lungs can be affected by alcohol abuse although often overlooked by the public and clinicians. Those with alcohol use disorder (AUD) may have pneumococcal pneumonia.