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Every Alcoholic Drink Shortens Your Life By 15 Minutes
16 April 2018, 03:04 | Devin Moran
Drinking more than five glasses of wine a week could knock years off life, study suggests
Irish drinkers who stick to HSE limits on alcohol consumption may still be putting their health at risk and anything over a bottle of wine or five pints a week could lead to an an earlier death, according to research published this morning.
Researchers studying alcohol consumption and mortality have advised countries like the United States to slash their drinking guidelines.
Pooling data from 83 studies of current drinkers in 19 high-income countries, researchers linked an alcohol intake of more than 3.5 oz. alcohol-about seven standard US drinks-with higher mortality.
Drinking as little as an extra glass of wine a night could shorten your life by thirty minutes according to a new study.
Drinking the equivalent of 12 to 21 glasses of wine per week lowers life expectancy by 1 to 2 years and drinking more than 21 glasses per week shortens life by 4 to 5 years, the study said. In more approachable terms, that's roughly five pints of beer or five moderate glasses of wine per week.
Jeremy Pearson, an associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the study, called it "a serious wake-up call for many countries". And when you bump that number up to 18 drinks a week, you're looking at losing four to five years off your life. Consuming two bacon sandwiches a week or sitting watching a hour of television per day is statistically more unsafe for long-term health.
'Of course it's up to individuals whether they think this is worthwhile'.
But there is a benefit to drinking alcohol.
On the other hand, the risk of nonfatal heart attacks was somewhat smaller for people drinking more. By contrast, increased alcohol consumption was associated with a somewhat lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks ("myocardial infarction").
Each unit of alcohol consumed above the U.K.'s recommended daily guidelines takes about the same amount of life as a cigarette, according to The Guardian.
Researchers found that even the UK's current guideline weekly limit of 14 units is too much. All participants had been recruited between 1964 and 2010 with a minimum 12 month follow-up, and none had a known history of cardiovascular disease.
"The key message of this research for public health is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions", said the report's lead author Dr Angela Wood of the University of Cambridge. About half of the drinkers reported consuming more than the U.K.'s recommended limits.
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