Data on non-drug related risk-factors for gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) in the general population are limited, especially for life-style factors, clinical measurements and laboratory parameters.
To identify and investigate non-drug risk factors for major GIB in the general population of Finland.
We performed a retrospective cohort study using data from the FINRISK health examination surveys, which have been conducted every 5 years across Finland from 1987 to 2007. Participants were adults aged 25 years to 74 years, excluding those with a previous hospitalization for GIB. Follow-up from enrollment was performed through linkage to national electronic health registers and ended at an event of GIB that led to hospitalization/death, death due to any other cause, or after 10 years. Covariates included demographics, socioeconomic and lifestyle factors, clinical measurements, laboratory parameters and comorbidities. Variable selection was undertaken using Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) and factors associated with GIB were identified using Cox regression.
Among 33,508 participants, 403 (1.2%) experienced GIB [256 men (63.5%); mean age, 56.0 years (standard deviation (SD) ± 12.1)] and 33105 who did not experience GIB [15768 men (47.6%); mean age, 46.8 (SD ± 13) years], within 10 years of follow-up. Factors associated with a significantly increased risk of GIB were baseline age [per 10-year increase; hazard ratio (HR) 1.62, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.42-1.86], unemployment (HR: 1.70, 95%CI: 1.11-2.59), body mass index (BMI) (HR: 1.15, 95%CI: 1.01-1.32), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) (HR: 1.05, 95%CI: 1.02-1.09), precursors of GIB (HR: 1.90, 95%CI: 1.37-2.63), cancer (HR: 1.47, 95%CI: 1.10-1.97), psychiatric disorders (HR: 1.32, 95%CI: 1.01-1.71), heart failure (HR: 1.46, 95%CI: 1.04-2.05), and liver disorders (HR: 3.20, 95%CI: 2.06-4.97). Factors associated with a significantly decreased risk of GIB were systolic blood pressure (SBP) (HR: 0.78, 95%CI: 0.64-0.96), 6-10 cups of coffee a day (HR: 0.67, 95%CI: 0.46-0.99), or > 10 cups (HR: 0.43, 95%CI: 0.23-0.81).
Our study confirms established risk-factors for GIB and identifies potential risk-factors not previously reported such as unemployment, BMI, GGT, SBP and coffee consumption.