Weight loss surgery tied to increase in drinking: study

Updated 16 October 2012
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Weight loss surgery tied to increase in drinking: study

People who had weight loss surgery reported greater alcohol use two years after their procedures, according to a US study.
The researchers, whose findings appeared in the Archives of Surgery, said it’s possible that some patients may turn to drinking if the surgery successfully stops their ability to overeat without addressing underlying issues.
In addition, the effect of certain stomach-shrinking procedures on alcohol tolerance may play a part.
“This is perhaps a risk,” said Alexis Conason, who worked on the study at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
“I don’t think it should deter people from having surgery, but you should be cautious to monitor (alcohol use) after surgery,” Conason told Reuters Health.
The study didn’t show whether people were drinking in a dangerous way, and there was no clear increase in drug use or smoking after surgery.
Her team’s study involved 155 people getting gastric bypass or gastric banding surgery, mostly women. Participants started the study with an average body mass index, or BMI, of 46 — equivalent of a 168 cm (five foot six inch) person weighing 129 kilograms (285 pounds).
Surgery is typically recommended for people with a BMI of at least 40, or at least 35 if they also have health problems such as diabetes or severe sleep apnea.
Alcohol use dropped immediately after surgery, from 61 percent of people who initially reported drinking to 20 percent at one month post-surgery. But by three months, drinking rates had started to creep back up.
And at two years out, people were drinking significantly more often than before their procedures.
That was mainly the case for those who had gastric bypass surgery, not banding. On a scale from 0 to 10 of drinking frequency, where 0 represented never, 5 was sometimes and 10 always, gastric bypass patients reported an increase from 1.86 before surgery to 3.08 two years later.
Conason said gastric bypass, in particular, has been shown to drastically lower alcohol tolerance, to the point that some post-surgery patients have a blood alcohol content above the legal driving limit after just one drink. For some, that could make drinking more appealing, she added.
One limitation of the study is that only one-quarter of the initial participants were still in touch to report their current alcohol and drug use at the two-year mark, so the researchers don’t know how everyone else fared.
James Mitchell, a psychiatrist who has studied alcohol use after weight loss surgery at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Grand Forks, said there’s also a need for research going on for longer than two years, to see if alcohol use keeps increasing.
“The health risks of obesity are such that people with severe obesity should not forgo bariatric surgery because of this,” said Mitchell, who was not involved in the study.
But he added that everyone should be warned about the possibility of increased alcohol use — and people with a history of alcohol abuse should be especially careful.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/JLp3jy


WHO: Alcohol abuse kills 3 million a year, most of them men

The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) is pictured on the facade of the WHO headquarters on October 24, 2017 in Geneva. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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WHO: Alcohol abuse kills 3 million a year, most of them men

  • Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents and interpersonal violence
  • An estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average daily consumption of people at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day

GENEVA: More than 3 million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, meaning one in 20 deaths worldwide was linked to harmful drinking, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
More than three quarters of these deaths were among men, the UN health agency said. Despite evidence of the health risks it carries, global consumption of alcohol is predicted to rise in the next 10 years.
“It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.
In its “Global status report on alcohol and health 2018,” the WHO said that globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women are problem drinkers or alcohol abusers. The highest prevalence is in Europe and the Americas, and alcohol-use disorders are more common in wealthier countries.
Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents and interpersonal violence. Another 21 percent were due to digestive disorders, and 19 percent due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
An estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average daily consumption of people at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day. This is roughly equivalent to two 150 ml glasses of wine, a large (750 ml) bottle of beer or two 40 ml shots of spirits.
Europe has the highest per person alcohol consumption in the world, even though it has dropped by around 10 percent since 2010. Current trends point to a global rise in per capita consumption in the next 10 years, the report said, particularly in Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific and the Americas.
“All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol,” said Vladimir Poznyak, of the WHO’s substance abuse unit. He said proven, cost-effective steps included raising alcohol taxes, restricting advertising and limiting easy access to alcohol.
Worldwide, 45 percent of total alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits. Beer is the second most popular, accounting for 34 percent of consumption, followed by wine at 12 percent.
The report found that almost all countries have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other pricing strategies such as banning below-cost sales or bulk buy discounts.