(HealthDay News) — Among older moderate drinkers, those who sometimes engage in binge drinking have an increased total mortality risk compared with those who have a regular pattern of moderate drinking, according to research published online March 3 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
Charles J. Holahan, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin, and colleagues conducted 20-year follow-up of 446 adults, aged 55–65 years, including 74 drinkers who engaged in moderate drinking and episodic heavy drinking and 372 drinkers who engaged in a regular pattern of moderate drinking. Heavy episodic drinking among moderate drinkers was defined as consuming four or more drinks for women, and five or more drinks for men, on the occasion of the largest amount of drinking. The researchers assessed the association between episodic heavy drinking and total mortality.
The researchers found that the risk of 20-year mortality was approximately two times higher in moderate drinkers with episodic heavy drinking than in drinkers with a regular pattern of moderate alcohol consumption.
“Among older moderate drinkers, those who engage in episodic heavy drinking show significantly increased total mortality risk compared to regular moderate drinkers,” the authors write. “Episodic heavy drinking — even when average consumption remains moderate — is a significant public health concern.”