Medicine

Regular excess drinking leads to a shorter life, study says

Regular excess drinking leads to a shorter life, study says”

The study found that on average, drinking the equivalent of 10 pints of beer or glasses of wine each week was linked with one to two years shorter life expectancy.

"Overall, for a 40-year-old man, the estimated reduction in life expectancy is almost five years for alcohol consumption of more than 350g per week, for a 40-year-old woman it is around four years, compared to consumption of less than 100g per week".

The study, led by Dr. Angela Wood of the University of Cambridge, analyzed about 600,000 drinkers around the world.

The study analysed 599,912 current drinkers in 19 countries, none of whom had a known history of cardiovascular disease, and found an increase in all causes of death when more than 100g of alcohol was consumed every week.

"What this is saying is, if you're really concerned about your longevity, don't have more than a drink a day", said David Jernigan, a Johns Hopkins University alcohol researcher who was not involved in the study. But for those who do, the US Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines recommend women limit their consumption to no more than one drink per day (98 grams per week) and men to two daily drinks (196 grams per week).

In 2016, the United Kingdom guidelines were for 6 pints of beer or six glasses of wine per week, but they have recently lowered the guidelines with one less pint of beer or glass of wine. In Britain, that's about six pints of beer a week.

Drinking alcohol was linked with a reduced risk of non-fatal heart disease, but scientists said this benefit was wiped out by a higher risk of other forms of the illness.

Although the pool of data was extensive, information about alcohol consumption was self-reported, so the study's findings are limited.

These warnings should be heeded by physicians when talking to their patients about their drinking habits, said one of the study co-authors, Dan G. Blazer, professor of psychiatry emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine.

The research did not take into account the possibility of mental disorders such as dementia, which could accompany the other health problems drinkers incur.

"This study completely overlooks the well-documented health benefits light to moderate enjoyment of alcohol brings", said James Calder, head of communications for the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

The study included almost 600,000 participants from across the globe, a team of global researchers analysed data taken from 83 studies in 19 high-income countries. But this study also suggests that whatever level you drink at, even if it's under the guidelines, drinking even less will help reduce your health risks.

"Excessive drinking for an extended period of time increases the risk of cardiovascular disease".

They found that the more people drank, the higher their risk of death compared with people who drank less. The research was published in the medical journal The Lancet.

However other countries reportedly still have much higher limits than the UK.

"We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target".



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