Regular excess drinking can take years off your life, study finds

Regular excess drinking can take years off your life, study finds

It relied on self-reported drinking habits, and didn't take into account the effect of alcohol over the course of a person's life, for example.

The upper safe limit of drinking was about five drinks per week (100g of pure alcohol, 12.5 units or just over five pints of 4% ABV beer or five 175ml glasses of 13% ABV wine).

The researchers also note that the varying nature of alcohol guidelines from country to country makes the study's implications particularly impactful. Finally, those who drank more than 350g a week shortened their lifespans by four to five years. The researchers focused on who developed - and died from - stroke and different forms of heart disease.

"Higher alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk of heart attack, but higher risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart events". However, greater risks from other causes of death outweighed any advantage that might bring.

"This doesn't mean we should rest on our laurels - many people in the United Kingdom regularly drink over what's recommended". Find out more about calculating units of alcohol.

Researchers have previously found that drinking guidelines vary widely around the world.

The study "is a serious wake-up call for many countries", Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation said in a statement.

These sobering findings come from a massive new study published this week in The Lancet medical journal.




The "safe" limit of drinking before the risk of death increased is around 12.5 alcohol units per week - the equivalent of around five pints of beer.

It's official, everyone: We're drinking too much booze, and it's cutting us short of precious life. There's also no agreed classification for the size of a glass of wine.

"The drinking levels recommended in this study will no doubt be described as implausible and impracticable by the alcohol industry and other opponents of public health warnings on alcohol", wrote Professors Jason Connor and Wayne Hall from the University of Queensland Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, Australia.

What kind of research was this?

It considered about 600,000 people who drank alcohol. Spiegelhalter was not involved in the research. They made a point of excluding people who had a known history of heart problems at the time they had entered a study.

David Jernigan, an alcohol researcher at Johns Hopkins University, told the Associated Press, "if you're really concerned about your longevity, don't have more than one drink a day".

What were the basic results?

The new study also excluded people with existing heart disease. There's variation from country to country as to how many grams of alcohol are generally found in a standard drink.

The research, which included Australian authors and data, found that drinking more than this lowered people's life expectancy at age 40 by between six months and five years.

Even the most casual drinkers among us, including those following USA government recommendations, can see months and years taken away by steadily hitting the hooch, according to a new study by an worldwide team of researchers.

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