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Alcohol causes 2.8 million deaths each year worldwide

27 August 2018
Alcohol causes 2.8 million deaths each year worldwide

"This research shows what might look like an alarming risk in health problems including cancer and liver problems throughout your life".

They estimate that consuming just one drink per day increases the risk of developing one of 23 alcohol-related health problems by 0.5 per cent, compared with not drinking at all.

He writes that to understand the 0.5% increase in risk from drinking one drink a day, 25,000 people would need to drink 10g of alcohol a day (10g being the amount recognised as a single drink in the report) for a year, that's 3,650g of alcohol each. In addition to 694 data sources on individual and population-level alcohol consumption and 592 prospective and retrospective studies on the risk of alcohol use, the team also used data from the 2016 Global Burden of Disease study, an annual study investigating the leading causes of illness and death across the globe. For people over 50, cancers were a leading cause of alcohol-related death. Conversely, the fewest drinkers were found in Pakistan, for men (0.8%), and Bangladesh, for women (0.3%). Their analysis showed that up to 2.2 percent of women and 6.8 percent of men globally die from alcohol-related health problems each year. Essentially, it's hard to study non-drinkers in isolation, because some people who say they don't drink now may have actually been formerly heavy drinkers. According to a new study by researchers studying the effects of alcohol, there's actually no safe amount of those tasty intoxicating beverages.

When you combine the effects of drinking on many different health conditions, the end result, Griswold admits, is bleak. And four more people would be affected if they had one drink a day.

But researchers from the new study said those studies had limitations.

During this study, researchers did find some benefits to heart and towards prevention of diabetes and stroke that were related to alcohol consumption, however, the benefits of a total abstinence far outweighed these little positives. We found that the risk of all-cause mortality, and of cancers specifically, rises with increasing levels of consumption, and the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero. Denmark led the list for most drinkers (97 percent of men and 95 percent of women), while Romania (men) and Ukraine (women) had the heaviest drinkers.

Moderation is defined as up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The "less is better, none is best" finding jibes with the World Health Organization's long-standing position, but is at odds with many national guidelines, especially in the developed world. It accounted for almost one in 10 deaths.

David Spiegelhalter, professor for the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge, said: "Claiming there is no 'safe" level does not seem an argument for abstention.

But those benefits are "outweighed by the overall adverse health impact of alcohol, even at moderate levels", she said.

"There's no safe level of riding a bike or driving a auto".