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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


LIMA, Carlos Tadeu da Silva et al. Arterial hypertension and alcoholism among workers in an oil refinery. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.6, n.3, pp.185-191. ISSN 1680-5348.

The role of alcohol ingestion in the incidence of arterial hypertension has not been completely established. In addition, there are few studies addressing this point in relation to populations of workers. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between alcoholism and arterial hypertension among workers in an oil refinery in Mataripe, Bahia, Brazil, from 1986 to 1993. We designed a retrospective cohort study with a 7-year follow-up in a stratified systematic sample of 335 workers from the refinery. Arterial hypertension was diagnosed based on blood pressure measurements done during routine medical examinations. At the beginning of follow-up, three groups were defined using the CAGE test of alcohol dependency: nondrinkers (n = 121), CAGE-negative workers (n = 116), and CAGE-positive workers (n = 98). In comparison with the CAGE-negative group, the CAGE-positive group had both greater relative risk and greater attributable risk for developing arterial hypertension (RR = 2.58; AR = 24.95 per 1 000 person-years). The CAGE-positive group also had greater risks compared to nondrinkers (RR = 2.06; AR = 20.97 per 1 000 person-years). The attributable fractions for the same two comparisons of groups were 61% and 51%, respectively. Rate standardization by age or smoking habit did not substantially change the results. Alcoholism is an important risk factor for arterial hypertension.

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