Background: Overconsumption of alcohol affects health. Data from men from the West of Scotland Collaborative study were analysed to see how reported alcohol was related to acute and mental health hospital admissions.
Methods: Men (N = 5772) from a prospective cohort study located in 27 workplaces in West and Central Scotland were screened when aged 35–64 in 1970–3. The number of acute and mental health admissions and bed-days were calculated by alcohol category (none, 1–7, 8–14, 15–21, 22–34 and 35 or more units per week) to the end of 2005. Specific causes were coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, respiratory diseases and alcohol-related.
Results: Men who consumed 22 or more units per week had a 20% higher rate of acute admissions than non-drinkers. The number of bed-days were higher for men drinking eight or more units and increased with consumption, with the highest category having a 58% higher rate of bed-days than non-drinkers. Non-drinkers had the highest admissions for CHD. For stroke, drinkers of 15 or more units had higher admissions and higher number of bed-days and these increased with increasing consumption. Respiratory admissions were higher for drinkers of 22 or more units and bed-days were higher for drinkers of 15 or more units. Alcohol-related admissions and number of bed-days generally increased with consumption. Mental health admissions and number of bed-days were raised for drinkers of 22 or more units with a suggestion of a J-shaped relationship.
Conclusion: Alcohol consumption has a substantial effect on acute and mental health admissions and bed-days.
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Funding C.L.H. was funded by NHS Health Scotland.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Permission was given by the Privacy Advisory Committee of NHS Scotland Information Services to link participants to their hospital discharge data.