October 16, 2018

Even drinking a little each day ups your risk of early death

06 October 2018, 09:28 | Silvia Roy

Even light drinking increases risk of death

Another study raises questions about your daily glass(es) of alcohol

Overall, around 435,000 people between ages 18 and 85 years participated in the study.

Some experts said after The Lancet study was released that people shouldn't get too alarmed about the risks posed by light drinking because they are smaller than many other risks in people's lives.

Previous research has suggested benefits to the heart from a daily drink, ascribed variously to beneficial anti-oxidants in red wine, reduced chance of blood clots or simply its stress-relieving properties as a social lubricant.

The study was published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The health benefits of a daily glass of wine or alcoholic tipple may have been somewhat overstated, according to a study that shows regular drinking - even within "safe" limits - substantially increased the risk of premature death.

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This work was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism and the National Center for Research Resources at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant numbers K08 DA032680, R21 AA24888, R01 DA036583, U10 AA008401 R21 AA025689, R01 DA033827 and UL1RR024992.

The Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) defines moderate drinking as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.

"The minimum risk of low‐level drinking frequency for all‐cause mortality appears to be approximately 3 occasions weekly.Daily drinking, even at low levels, is detrimental to one's health."

He pointed out that "one of the study's conclusions was that, as medicine becomes more personalised, some patients with a history of cardiovascular disease may benefit from drinking two or three days a week, but those with a higher risk of cancer may not benefit".

Now, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, have discovered even more about just how harmful it can be to have even as little as one drink per day.

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"As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 per cent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25", Dr Hartz said. This increased death risk, the study authors add, remains consistent across all age groups. She explained that since very few people die in their 20s, a 20% increased risk of premature death is less significant at that age than it would be for someone in their 70s.

Hartz predicted that in the future, some doctors may recommend that people with family histories of heart problems have an occasional drink.

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.

"A glass of wine a day" is commonly quoted as being a healthy thing.

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