Study finds drinking five pints a week could shorten your life

Alcohol associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm and heart failure.

Drinking habit could shorten life

Regularly drinking more alcohol than the recommended amount could take years off your life, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

The study shows that drinking more alcohol is associated with a higher risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and death.

The authors say their findings challenge the widely held belief that moderate drinking is beneficial to cardiovascular health.

The study compared the health and drinking habits of over 600,000 people in 19 countries worldwide and controlled for age, smoking, history of diabetes, level of education and occupation.

The upper safe limit of drinking was about five drinks per week (100g of pure alcohol, 12.5 units or just over five pints of four per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) beer or five 175ml glasses of 13 per cent ABV wine).

However, drinking above this limit was linked with lower life expectancy. For example, having 10 or more drinks per week was linked with one to two years shorter life expectancy. Having 18 drinks or more per week was linked with four to five years shorter life expectancy.

The researchers also looked at the association between alcohol consumption and different types of cardiovascular disease.

Alcohol consumption was associated with a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, fatal aortic aneurysms, fatal hypertensive disease and heart failure, and there were no clear thresholds where drinking less did not have a benefit.

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

The authors stress that the lower risk of non-fatal heart attack must be considered in the context of the increased risk of several other serious and often fatal cardiovascular diseases.

“If you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions,” explained the study’s lead author Dr Angela Wood.

“Alcohol consumption is associated with a slightly lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks but this must be balanced against the higher risk associated with other serious – and potentially fatal – cardiovascular diseases.”

Read the full study.

How much alcohol do you drink per week? Have you cut down recently to look after your health?

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    COMMENTS

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    Kaz
    18th Apr 2018
    11:24am
    Someone needs to tell my dad - at 84 he walks with his dog on the beach every morning at 5am, goes to the club at 10 every day for two schooners, has 2 more stubbies at home in the course of the day. Does his own shopping, cooking, cleaning. Of course, he may not live to 100 but he doesn’t think about that, just happy to wake up every day.
    Cowboy Jim
    18th Apr 2018
    11:30am
    Kaz - I certainly drink to that. There are heaps of wowsers and non drinkers clogging up the cemetery.
    First they attacked the smokers and now the drinkers! What about the young ones shooting up their veines? Too complicated.
    bob
    18th Apr 2018
    11:28am
    "there were no clear risk thresholds below which lower alcohol consumption stopped being associated with lower disease risk" [full study from Lancett] - doesn't this tell us that the reporting is INCORRECT to talk about EXTRA drinks - the risk starts with EVERY drink, including the FIRST drink.
    AND there is no cause and effect case - just statistical coincidence [which seems to suggest maybe some cause and effect but not prove it]
    AND what other variations and exceptions did the study NOT EXAMINE [such as occasional bing versus regular small doses OR whether people smoked, exercised etc etc.
    It is a good reminder of potential, and reminds us that alcohol is probably poison [i think we knew that, but perhaps needed to be reminded and shaken out of our fateful or wishful thinking] BUT the absolute statements about that 'extra' drink taking half an hour of your life are sustainable only on a broad statistical level which ignores other variables.

    18th Apr 2018
    12:16pm
    Ah well, if you give up smoking, drinking and sex, you won't live any longer. It will just seem that way.
    Arisaid
    18th Apr 2018
    3:19pm
    Sure will
    heyyybob
    18th Apr 2018
    3:35pm
    BwaHaHaaHaaaaaa :)
    Bridgit
    18th Apr 2018
    4:17pm
    You are so right Old Man - if we were silly enough to listen to all their waffle we would have been dead a long time ago!
    PlanB
    18th Apr 2018
    12:23pm
    I don't drink and never have -- but I am not a wowser -- just don't like the taste -- except maybe Kalua and such but too dear for me, but have known a few that like the odd drink and have lived to a good age -- also known a few that have died at a very young age
    Tib
    18th Apr 2018
    1:51pm
    Alcohol is bad again. Good ,bad, I still enjoy a drink.
    The pom
    18th Apr 2018
    4:29pm
    There will always be individuals who do not conform to the general pattern, a classic case being Churchill who smoked masses of cigars, and consumed about a bottle of spirits a day for much of his adult life and lived to the age of 90. I can't afford cigars and a bottle of brandy a day so I don't smoke or touch alcohol, and I had a twin brother who drank and smoked. I am well into my 80s but my twin died in his early 70s.
    Tib
    18th Apr 2018
    4:54pm
    What happened to your twin? Hit by a truck!
    Lighten up
    19th Apr 2018
    8:11am
    Ouch
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    22nd Jun 2018
    5:07pm
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