Low-risk limits recommended for alcohol consumption vary substantially across different national guidelines. Dr Angela M Wood at Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK and colleagues conducted a Study to define thresholds associated with lowest risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease. The researchers found that People who reported drinking more than five drinks a week had higher rates of stroke, heart disease, deadly high blood pressure and fatal aortic aneurysms. Any more than five drinks a week could shorten your life. This is much below than limit of alcohol consumption prescribed by all the Guidelines across the world. The study has been published in Lancet .
The researchers conducted a new study on more than half a million people in 19 countries around the world. The people who were included in the study were asked about drinking habits dating back as long ago as 1964. They were followed for years afterward. They did a combined analysis of individual-participant data from three large-scale data sources in 19 high-income countries (the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, EPIC-CVD, and the UK Biobank). We characterized dose–response associations and calculated hazard ratios (HRs) per 100 g per week of alcohol (12·5 units per week) across 83 prospective studies, adjusting at least for study or centre, age, sex, smoking, and diabetes.
Various countries have different prescribed limits of alcohol limits. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, four ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.
- UK’s guidelines of 2016 recommend both men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol each week, the equivalent of about six drinks a week.
- Recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are almost 50% higher than this.
- In the USA, for example, an upper limit of 196 g per week (about 11 standard UK glasses of wine or pints of beer per week) is recommended for men, and an upper limit of 98 g per week is recommended for women.
- Similar recommendations apply in Canada and Swede
Previous studies have suggested that drinking red wine can be good for our hearts. A Danish study found drinking three to four times a week was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. But all these claims have been shattered by one stroke by a New Study.
The Scientists have calculated how much life a person could expect to lose if they drank the same way for the rest of their lives from the age of 40.An analysis of 600,000 drinkers found that drinking five to 10 alcoholic drinks a week was likely to shorten a person’s life by up to six months. The study has challenged the idea that light drinking was good for health. According to the study those who have 18 drinks or more may be losing up to five years of life.
They found the upper safe limit of drinking before there was an increased risk of death was around 12.5 units a week – the equivalent of about five pints of beer or five 175ml glasses of above-average strength wine.
But they said drinking at all levels increased the risk of cardiovascular illnesses.
For every 12.5 units of alcohol people drank a week it raised the risk of:
- Stroke by 14%
- Fatal hypertensive disease by 24%
- Heart failure by 9%
- Fatal aortic aneurysm by 15%
Drinking alcohol was linked with a lower risk of non-fatal heart disease, but scientists said this benefit was overwhelmed by the increased risk of other forms of heart disease.”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.
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.”It further adds that pregnant women should not drink at all.
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