26 August 2018 Blog Post: The Lancet where researchers show that alcohol - any alcohol - is bad for you.

Just in time to ruin your weekend, comes the story from The Lancet where researchers show that alcohol – any alcohol – is bad for you – really bad for you.
So bad, in fact, that the researchers conclude, “Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.”
 
So how did they arrive at that conclusion? Researchers with the Global Burden of Diseases Study 2016 examined data on population alcohol consumption, as well as results from nearly 600 studies on the health effects of alcohol, to estimate alcohol use and its impact in nearly 200 countries and territories. In 2016, 2.2% of deaths among females and 6.8% among males were attributable to alcohol.
 
Digging deeper, however, the three leading causes of attributable deaths for those 18-49 were tuberculosis, road injuries, and self-harm. For populations aged 50 years and older, cancers accounted for a largest proportion of total alcohol-attributable deaths constituting 27·1% of total alcohol-attributable female deaths and 18·9% of male deaths.
 
In the United States, tuberculosis is not a publicized public health issue but the fact that it is highlighted in a study on alcohol shows just how much of a burden it places on global health. This study was funded by the Gates Foundation which has shown an exceptional and well deserved interest in global well being.
 
Drinking and driving has well known risks also highlighted in this article. So, please, from “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” to calling an Uber, this alone will reduce the health hazards of alcohol.
 
Sadly, we have covered the statistics of self harm in our previous post on Anthony Bourdain. Alcohol affects the chemistry of the brain, increasing the risk of depression. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has an informative handout on the link between alcohol and depression:
 
In terms of risks after the age of 50, alcohol increased the risk of cirrhosis, chronic liver disease, stroke and liver cancer.
 
But what about heart disease? Haven’t we been told that modest alcohol intake is associated with improved heart health?
 
Not to put too much of a silver lining on this article which expertly highlights all the terrible effects of alcohol, researchers did demonstrate a statistically significant protective effect of alcohol and ischemic heart disease. For men there was a risk reduction of 14% and for women an 18% reduced risk for women with moderate alcohol intake. This occurring at 0·83 standard drinks daily for men and 0·92 standard drinks daily for women. A similar (but not statistically significant) trend was seen for diabetes and ischemic stroke.
 
So for your heart health, men can enjoy 83% of a drink and women, you can have a bit more (92%).
 
See, your weekend isn’t totally ruined.

𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿

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