Exceeding recommended alcohol limits cuts years off your life

Exceeding recommended alcohol limits cuts years off your life

A global study, published today in The Lancet, shows it was associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm and heart failure. Heavy drinkers shave years off their lifespan.

Men in the USA are advised to drink no more than 11 glasses of wine, or pints of beer, nearly double than in the UK.

By contrast, alcohol consumption was associated with a somewhat lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks, they said - echoing previous research.

"The take home message is this: less is probably better".

Dr Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge, lead author of the study said: "The key message of this research is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions".

"This study makes clear that on balance there are no health benefits from drinking alcohol, which is usually the case when things sound too good to be true", Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, who was not involved in the research said.

An analysis of more than half a million drinkers worldwide suggests alcohol consumption should be limited to below 100g - just under 10 standard Australian drinks - over seven days.

The new recommended 100g a week is equivalent to between five and six standard United Kingdom glasses of wine or pints of beer.

More news: Gold Coast 2018: More African Athletes Missing At Commonwealth Games

The recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are nearly 50% higher than this.

The research found that people who reported weekly drinking of 100-200g, 200-350g or more than 350g had an estimated lower life expectancy at age 40 years of approximately 6 months, 1-2 years, or 4-5 years, respectively.

"These data support adoption of lower limits of alcohol consumption than are recommended in most current guidelines", the report added. They recorded 40,310 deaths and 39,018 cardiovascular disease events among the group's members.

On average, each unit of alcohol consumed over the 100g threshold, slices about 15 minutes off a person's life - about the same as a cigarette, David Spiegelhalter, a professor in the "understanding of risk" at the University of Cambridge said in a comment on the report.

"Nonetheless, the findings ought to be widely disseminated and they should provoke informed public and professional debate".

"Although non-fatal heart attacks are less likely in people who drink, this benefit is swamped by the increased risk of other forms of heart disease including fatal heart attacks and stroke". It's also observational - it doesn't directly prove alcohol consumption increases the risk of early death.

Alcohol guidelines vary substantially from country to country.

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