Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Medical | By

Even drinking a little each day ups your risk of early death

Even drinking a little each day ups your risk of early death

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

The study looked at data from 400,000 USA 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.

For the study, the team looked at two large groups of people in the United States: more than 340,600 people in the National Health Interview Survey and more than 93,600 treated as outpatients at Veterans Administration clinics.

While light drinking was found to reduce the risk of heart-related problems, a new study suggests daily drinking eliminates said benefit, increasing one's mortality risk in the process.

"It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health", said Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD, first author of the new research.

The Independent reports that researchers collected data from more than 400,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 85 and found that 20 percent of the subjects had a higher risk of an early death when they drank more than three days a week. Additionally, investigators noticed the increased risk of death was consistent among all age groups.

Dr. Hartz and team's research, however, reveals that the health hazards that even people who drink lightly face outweigh any potential benefits.


She said that her and her colleagues' research found that any level of drinking is tied to an increased risk of early death, cancer, and cardiovascular events.

Residents of Icaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; and the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica all follow a Mediterranean diet with a glass or two of red wine a day.

The study concluded that drinking one to two portions of alcohol four or more times a week (a quantity generally considered non-harmful or even healthy) increases the risk of premature death by 20% compared to those who drink less than three drinks a week.

This rose to seven percent for people who consume two drinks per day and spiked to 37 percent for those who down five drinks.

"With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental", she warns. 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.

If you tailor medical recommendations to an individual person, there may be situations under which you would think that occasional drinking potentially could be helpful.

You may have to rethink that daily glass of wine for health reasons.

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