Terrifying New Study Breaks Down Exactly How Drinking Will Shorten Your Life

15 April, 2018, 00:30 | Author: Clint Gray
  • Drinking a pint of beer may lower your life expectancy by the same amount as smoking a cigarette.     NeydtStock

The study, which was on Friday, was based on the health data of almost 600 thousand alcohol drinkers from 19 countries.

The study found similar results for men and women and pointed out that people aged 40 who consume 200-350g per week could increase their life expectancy by up to three years if they halved their alcohol consumption.

They found people who drank the equivalent of about five to 10 drinks a week could shorten their lives by up to six months.

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. About 50% of the participants admitted to drinking more than 100 grams per week. In the United Kingdom, 100 grams is about six pints of beer a week.

The authors of the study said recommended alcohol limits should be lowered to around 100g or 12.5 units per week in many countries.

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"Recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are almost 50 percent higher than this, and in the U.S., the upper limit for men is nearly double", the researchers found.

Another point of difference from these recommendations, is the study's universal threshold for a "minimum mortality risk" that doesn't discriminate between genders.

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. "But above two units a day, the death rates steadily climb", explained Professor David Spiegelhalter from the University of Cambridge, who was not involved in the study.

The researchers noted that the study tracked people's alcohol consumption for at least a year but did not examine the effect of alcohol consumption over a person's entire lifetime.

The research did not take into account the possibility of mental disorders such as dementia, which could accompany the other health problems drinkers incur. Having 18 drinks or more per week was linked with 4-5 years shorter life expectancy.

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The more people drank, the higher the risk of a range of life threatening illnesses, including stroke and heart failure.

A spokesman for industry body the Alcohol Information Partnership said: "This report confirms our view that moderate drinking does not pose a risk to most people".

But there is a benefit to drinking alcohol. The risk of a stroke was 14 percent higher; heart failure 9 percent, and the risk of a fatal aortic aneurysm rose by 15 percent. This slightly lower risk of heart attack tied to alcohol consumption must be balanced against the other "serious, and potentially fatal, cardiovascular diseases" linked with alcohol consumption, lead study author Dr. Angela Wood, a lecturer in biostatistics at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, said in the statement. Public health advocates have criticized the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH15) study in part because starting in 2013, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism solicited donations from the world's biggest alcohol producers, according to the New York Times, to fund the $100 million study-a project equal to a quarter of the agency's annual budget.

Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol will shave years off your life, according to an extensive worldwide study that shows Australian guidelines are far too lax.

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