Journal Article

Alcohol consumption and kidney function decline in the elderly

Vandana Menon, Ronit Katz, Kenneth Mukamal, Bryan Kestenbaum, Ian H. de Boer, David S. Siscovick, Mark J. Sarnak and Michael G. Shlipak

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 25, issue 10, pages 3301-3307
Published in print October 2010 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/gfq188
Alcohol consumption and kidney function decline in the elderly

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Background. Alcohol consumption appears to be protective for cardiovascular disease; however, its relationship with kidney disease is unclear.

Methods. This prospective cohort study included 4343 subjects from the Cardiovascular Health Study, a longitudinal, community-based cohort of persons aged ≥65 from four US communities. We used previously defined categories based on weekly alcohol consumption: none, former, <1 drink, 1–6 drinks, 7–13 drinks and ≥14 drinks. Cystatin C was measured at baseline, year 3 and year 7; eligible subjects had at least two measures. Estimated GFRcys was calculated from cystatin C. The primary outcome was rapid kidney function as an annual estimated GFR (eGFRcys) loss >3 mL/min/1.73 m2/year.

Results. Eight percent of the cohort reported former alcohol use and 52% reported current alcohol consumption. During a mean follow-up of 5.6 years, 1075 (25%) participants had rapid kidney function decline. In adjusted logistic regression models, there was no association between alcohol use and kidney function decline (odds ratio, 95% confidence interval: none = reference; former = 1.18, 0.89–1.56; <1 drink = 1.20, 0.99–1.47; 1–6 = 1.18, 0.95–1.45; 7–13 = 1.10, 0.80–1.53; >14 = 0.89, 0.61–1.13). Results were similar with kidney function decline as a continuous outcome.

Conclusions. Our results suggest that moderate alcohol consumption has neither adverse nor beneficial effects on kidney function. Although clinicians will need to consider the potential deleterious effects associated with alcohol consumption, there does not appear to be a basis for recommending that older adults discontinue or initiate light to moderate alcohol consumption to protect against kidney disease.

Keywords: alcohol; kidney disease; outcomes; progression

Journal Article.  4355 words. 

Subjects: Nephrology

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