Study says more than 5 drinks in a week may shorten lives

Study says more than 5 drinks in a week may shorten lives

Study says more than 5 drinks in a week may shorten lives

"The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines has roughly two years lower life expectancy", said David Spiegelhalter, a risk expert at Britain's University of Cambridge who was not involved in the study. The government's health website says that while most Canadians drink in moderation, it's estimated that four to five million of them engage in "high risk drinking, which is linked to motor vehicle accidents, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other health issues, family problems, crime and violence".

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association both say men can safely drink up to two alcoholic drinks a day and women up to a drink a day.

"The key message of this research for public health is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions".

The report was based on a global study that included data from almost 600,000 current drinkers included in 83 studies carried out in 19 countries.

A standard drink contains 10g of pure alcohol and is equivalent to a half-pint of 4.5% lager, a small glass of a wine or a pub measure of spirits.

Recommended limits for safe alcohol consumption are too high in many developed countries and should be lowered to save lives, a study suggested Friday.

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. The Australian guidelines suggest a full-strength can or stubby of 375 millilitres of beer or a restaurant serving of 150 millilitres of white wine is 1.4 standard drinks.

Alcohol consumption is also associated with higher risks of several types of cancer, including breast cancer. 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. "By contrast, alcohol consumption was associated with a slightly lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks".

The study doesn't take into account the possibility of accompanying mental disorders, such as dementia, which could explain why people reduced their alcohol consumption over the follow-up period.

But they said "on balance" there are no health benefits from drinking and further research was needed to explore the link. The aggregated data did show that moderate drinking is associated with a lower risk of nonfatal heart attacks. Half of the participants reported consuming more than 100g of alcohol a week and 8.4% drank more than 350g per week (the heavy drinkers).

The worldwide team of researchers analyzed almost 600,000 people aged 30-100 from 19 different countries as part of 80 different studies.

Recommended drinking limits in the United States are now 98 grams for women and double for men - at two drinks per day - while limits in Italy, Spain and Portugal are nearly 50 percent higher.

This likelihood of an early death increases the more alcohol is consumed, the Cambridge-led researchers said.

Rao, visiting lecturer in old age psychiatry at King's College London, told The Guardian the study "highlights the need to reduce alcohol related harm in baby boomers, an age group now at highest risk of rising alcohol misuse".

Of course, Victoria Taylor has a good point, saying that we should consider the guidelines as a limit, not a target! The Lancet study, however, found no evidence to support different guidelines for women and men.

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