Friday, 14 December, 2018

Light drinking is not safe, can increase risk of premature death

VIA FLICKR  SAMANTHA COHEN Another study raises questions about your daily glass(es) of alcohol
Delores Daniels | 06 October, 2018, 21:26

This is Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD.

The increased risk of death was also consistent across all age groups.

It found one drink per day increases the risk of developing one of 23 alcohol-related health problems by 0.5 percent, compared with not drinking at all.

Professor Sarah Hartz, of Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, said: 'This report demonstrates an association between increased mortality and drinking behaviours that falls within the current US dietary guidelines for "healthy" alcohol use. Their findings suggest that one or two drinks four times a week - an amount deemed perfectly healthy in happier times - actually increases the risk of premature death by a full twenty percent. She concluded that light drinking is indeed boosting risks of premature death by triggering some deadly diseases like cancer.

Hartz said earlier studies may have linked light drinking to improvements in cardiovascular health, but the new study shows those possible benefits are outweighed by other risks, including the risk of cancer.

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"Daily drinking, even at low levels, is detrimental to one's health", said the study, which was published Wednesday online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

In the US, the guidelines stipulate that safe levels of drinking for men should be no more than 14 standard drinks per week.

We wanted to know if the study examined different types of alcoholic drinks, such as whiskey versus beer.

"Moderate" drinking refers to about one drink, or less, a day, according to a report by Harvard University.

The authors of the recent study analyzed data collected from 434,321 participants, aged 18-85.

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For their study, Dr Hartz and colleagues analysed data from more than 400,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 85 and found the 20 per cent higher risk of dying early, from any cause, when people drank on more than three days a week. "Relatively few people die in their 20s, so a 20 percent increase in mortality is small but still significant".

She added: "If you tailor medical recommendations to an individual person, there may be situations under which you would think that occasional drinking potentially could be helpful".

Still, the overall message is that even if you're young and in good shape, you "should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy".

Hartz SM, Oehlert M, Horton AC, Grucza R, Fisher SL, Culverhouse RC, Nelson KG, Sumerall SC, Neal C, Pegnier P, Chen G, Williams A, Bhattarai J, Evanoff B, Bierut LJ.

Hartz said most of the increased risk of early death comes from an increased risk of cancer. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, published online October 3, 2018.

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