Drinking more than recommended limits can SLASH your life expectancy

Drinking more than recommended limits can SLASH your life expectancy

Drinking more than recommended limits can SLASH your life expectancy

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

"Guideline developers tend to recognise that, in line with many other voluntary behaviours, drinkers are likely to be willing to accept some level of risk and have set guideline thresholds accordingly", she said.

"The study supports an adoption of lower limits of alcohol consumption than are recommended in most current guidelines across the globe - 100 grams per week maximum", Professor Hall said.

"But above two units a day, the death rates climb".

Recommended limits in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are almost 50% higher than this, and in the U.S. the upper limit for men is nearly double this. Analysis shows that approximately half of all drinkers go over the weekly recommended limit in the 19 high-income countries studied, while nearly one-in-ten people drink more than the equivalent of 21 pints of beer a week.

A global study, published today in The Lancet, shows it was associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm and heart failure.

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The study's authors note it has several limitations, primarily that it relies on self-reported data about alcohol consumption.

Dr Dan G Blazer, co-author, at Duke University in the United States, says doctors and other healthcare professionals must transmit this message to their patients.

"For quite a few years we've been saying the current low-risk guidelines for alcohol use are too high".

"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". Professor Yeap says that the size of the study means that the trends are clearer.

If a 40-year-old man dropped his intake from two drinks a day to around five drinks a week, he could expect to add an average of a year or two to his life, the researchers projected.

By contrast, alcohol consumption was associated with a slightly lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks.

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"Secondly, there has been a fiction, used by the alcohol industry to maintain nearly unrestrained advertising for its products, that small quantities of alcohol are beneficial, even healthy (reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease)".

The authors of the study, funded by various institutions including the UK Medical Research Council, said recommended alcohol limits should be lowered to around 100g or 12.5 units per week in many countries.

The study is one of the largest ever, co-authored by over 100 worldwide academics who analysed alcohol use in 599,912 drinkers in 19 countries over five decades.

"Evidence reviews on the health effects of alcohol consumption are now underway, which will help inform the recommendations in the revised guidelines", a spokesman says.

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