Chronic diseases and conditions related to alcohol use

Alcohol Res. 2013;35(2):155-73.


Alcohol consumption is a risk factor for many chronic diseases and conditions. The average volume of alcohol consumed, consumption patterns, and quality of the alcoholic beverages consumed likely have a causal impact on the mortality and morbidity related to chronic diseases and conditions. Twenty-five chronic disease and condition codes in the International Classification of Disease (ICD)-10 are entirely attributable to alcohol, and alcohol plays a component-risk role in certain cancers, other tumors, neuropsychiatric conditions, and numerous cardiovascular and digestive diseases. Furthermore, alcohol has both beneficial and detrimental impacts on diabetes, ischemic stroke, and ischemic heart disease, depending on the overall volume of alcohol consumed, and, in the case of ischemic diseases, consumption patterns. However, limitations exist to the methods used to calculate the relative risks and alcohol-attributable fractions. Furthermore, new studies and confounders may lead to additional diseases being causally linked to alcohol consumption, or may disprove the relationship between alcohol consumption and certain diseases that currently are considered to be causally linked. These limitations do not affect the conclusion that alcohol consumption significantly contributes to the burden of chronic diseases and conditions globally, and that this burden should be a target for intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Digestive System Diseases / etiology
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Factors