No amount of alcohol is safe, health experts warn

Aug 27, 2018, 06:26
No amount of alcohol is safe, health experts warn

"The health risks associated with alcohol are massive", said the report's senior author Dr Emmanuela Gakidou.

An additional four people would be affected in either way if people drank just one alcoholic drink a day - an increase of 0.5% - and 63 more people (so 977 in 100,000) would be at risk of injury or disease if they drank two drinks a day, a 7% increase.

Unlike those who believe a glass of red has health benefits, this report says there is no safe limit to alcohol consumption.

According to the study, there's a strong association between alcohol consumption and increased risk of cancer.

The new study concluded that any beneficial effects against ischemic heart disease were outweighed by the adverse effects of alcohol on other areas of health, particularly cancers. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 88,000 people die from alcohol-related issues every year in the United States making alcohol the third leading cause of preventable death in the nation. Conversely, the fewest drinkers were found in Pakistan, for men (0.8%), and Bangladesh, for women (0.3%).

Researchers looked at data from 195 countries and territories between 1990 and 2016 from people aged 15 to 95- years old who did not drink at all or had just one drink a day. Just over 2 percent of women and almost 7 percent of men worldwide die from alcohol-related health problems each year.

Experts believe that the trend for going out clubbing in the Eighties and Nineties has led to British "ladettes" being ranked so highly for alcohol consumption - as they have not changed their drinking habits.

The new study aims to correct these limitations by combining alcohol sales data with the prevalence of alcohol drinking and abstinence, self-reported data on the amount of alcohol consumed, tourism data to estimate the number of alcohol-drinking visitors to an area, and estimates of illicit trade and home brewing.

"We advocate sensible drinking by those who choose to drink and support consistent, evidence-based advice, which enables people to make their own informed choices about alcohol".

"There is always a lag between the publication of new evidence and the modification and adoption of revised guidelines", said Gakidou, who admitted to being an "occasional drinker" herself.

The study found that worldwide about 1 in 3 people drinks alcohol, while 25 percent of those drinkers were women and 39 percent were men. At five drinks per day, the risk was 37% higher, the study says.

"Given the pleasure presumably associated with moderate drinking, claiming there is no "safe" level does not seem an argument for abstention", said David Spiegelhalter, the Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge. In young people, the biggest causes of alcohol-related deaths were tuberculosis (1.4% of deaths), road injuries (1.2%), and self-harm (1.1%).

"There is no safe level of driving, but government do not recommend that people avoid driving". But there's no shortage of research suggesting that low-to-moderate drinking is associated with some health benefits, mainly revolving around the heart.

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