Background: Excess consumption of alcohol can lead to cirrhosis, but it is unclear whether the type of alcohol and pattern of consumption affects this risk. Aims: We aimed to investigate whether type and pattern of alcohol consumption early in life could predict development of severe liver disease.
Methods: We examined 43,242 adolescent men conscribed to military service in Sweden in 1970. Self-reported data on total amount and type of alcohol (wine, beer, and spirits) and risk behaviors associated with heavy drinking were registered. Population-based registers were used to ascertain incident cases of severe liver disease (defined as cirrhosis, decompensated liver disease, liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver-related mortality). Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios for development of severe liver disease.
Results: During follow-up, 392 men developed severe liver disease. In multivariable analysis, after adjustment for BMI, smoking, use of narcotics, cardiovascular fitness, cognitive ability, and total amount of alcohol, an increased risk for severe liver disease was found in men who reported drinking alcohol to alleviate a hangover (“eye-opener”; aHR 1.47, 95% CI 1.02–2.11) and men who reported having been apprehended for being drunk (aHR 2.17, 95% CI 1.63–2.90), but not for any other risk behaviors. Wine consumption was not associated with a reduced risk for severe liver disease compared to beer and spirits.
Conclusions: Certain risk behaviors can identify young men with a high risk of developing severe liver disease. Wine consumption was not associated with a reduced risk for severe liver disease compared to beer and spirits.
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- long-term follow-up
- decompensated liver disease