OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to evaluate the influence of environmental and sociodemographic factors and the effect of smoking, alcohol, and dietary habits on the risk of gastric intestinal metaplasia (IM) in Helicobacter pylori - infected subjects. METHODS: The investigation was based on 2598 consecutive volunteer blood donors tested for the presence of antibodies against H. pylori from March 1995 to March 1997. Endoscopy with multiple biopsies was offered to all H. pylori - positive, symptomatic subjects. The presence or absence of IM was diagnosed by gastric biopsies. A serologically H. pylori-positive subject with gastric IM was defined as a case, whereas serologically H. pylori - positive subjects without IM were used as controls. All patients answered a detailed questionnaire collecting sociodemographic characteristics and smoking, alcohol drinking, and dietary habits. Odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% CIs were estimated by unconditional logistic regression, including terms for age and sex, to assess the association between the data collected and IM. RESULTS: Three hundred forty-four subjects with serological H. pylori infection and upper-GI symptoms underwent GI endoscopy, during which biopsies were taken for histological diagnosis. Histology revealed metaplasia in 74 subjects (21.5%). Incomplete IM was found in 37.8% of these cases. No significant associations were found between IM and anthropometric or sociodemographic factors. There was a significant association between age and IM (X2 for trend, 6.67; p value, 0.009). Current smokers of over 20 cigarettes per day had a 4-fold risk of IM (OR, 4.75, 95% CI, 1.33-16.99). A 2-fold increased risk was found for high butter consumers (OR, 2.17; 95% CI, 1.14-4.11). No significant specific associations were found between the variables studied and complete or incomplete IM. CONCLUSIONS: This study found that smoking and high butter consumption may increase the risk of having gastric IM in H. pylori - positive subjects.
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