Monday, 10 December, 2018

Regular light drinking increases risk of premature death

Closeup of unrecognizable adult man slightly swirling a glass of rose wine under his nose and trying to catch bouquet. She's in a wine cellar there are blurry metal tanks in background. Backlit New research shows that we shouldn’t drink more than three glasses of wine per week
Samantha Long | 05 October, 2018, 20:40

This is Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD.

This latest study contradicts other research that having a glass of wine a day has health benefits.

Now a new study has found that just one glass of wine or beer a day raises the risk of premature death by 20%. The increased mortality death remained consistent throughout all age groups included in the study. The authors pointed out that drinkers in their 20s and 30s whose mortality rates are actually lower might not be particularly concerned about a 20 per cent increase in this risk, it could help inform age-targeted drinking guidance.

Although the study did find an association, it did not prove that light drinking caused early death risk to rise.

The study looked at data from 400,000 U.S. adults aged between 18 and 85 and researchers found the increased mortality risk affected drinking age-groups differently, with people under the age of 40 less likely to die early from alcohol related problems.

"One to two drinks four days a week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits".

The new study comes on the heels of research published in The Lancet, which reviewed data from more than 700 studies around the world and concluded that the safest level of drinking is none. But that study looked at all types of drinking - from light alcohol consumption to heavy drinking.

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Researchers found those who drank one or two drinks four or more times a week were 20 per cent more likely to die prematurely. Another group of almost 94 000 were between the ages of 40 and 60 and had been treated as outpatients at Veterans Health Administration clinics.

"A 20 percent increase in risk of death is a much bigger deal in older people who already are a higher risk", Hartz said in a statement.

Following on from the results of her research, Professor Hartz believes doctors in future will be able to recommend an occasional drink or abstinence based on a family history of heart disease or cancer.

While Hartz acknowledges that there may be situations in which "occasional drinking potentially could be helpful" depending on a person's individual health history, she says that the general idea that a glass or two of wine is healthy is misguided.

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

Hartz SM, Oehlert M, Horton AC, Grucza R, Fisher SL, Culverhouse RC, Nelson KG, Sumerall SC, Neal C, Pegnier P, Chen G, Williams A, Bhattarai J, Evanoff B, Bierut LJ.

'Consuming one to two drinks at a time on five or more occasions weekly was associated with elevated risk of all-cause mortality, relative to drinking less frequently.

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