Regular Excess Drinking Could Be Shortening Your Life Expectancy

Drinking a pint of beer may lower your life expectancy by the same amount as smoking a cigarette.     NeydtStock

Drinking a pint of beer may lower your life expectancy by the same amount as smoking a cigarette. NeydtStock

The study found similar results for men and women and pointed out that people aged 40 who consume 200-350g per week could increase their life expectancy by up to three years if they halved their alcohol consumption.

A 40-year-old man was estimated to lose one to two years off his life by consuming 196 grams of pure alcohol, instead of the recommended 10 standard drinks or 100-grams-per-week threshold.

The researchers found that regularly drinking over this was linked to lower life expectancy.

What it revealed was troubling: The people who drank more than 100 grams of alcohol a week had shorter lifespans than those who drank less than that.

The Daily Telegraph wrote: "Six glasses of wine a week is too much despite government guidelines suggesting it is a safe limit".

Anything more than six glasses is associated with a higher risk of stroke, coronary disease, heart failure and hypertension, according to the study.

The latest research shows that even small amounts of alcohol may reduce life expectancy.

United Kingdom guidelines were changed in 2016 to 14 units every week for men and women, lower than the limits in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Shawn Freeman, visiting from St. Louis, said other things influence how much he drinks, like his mood and whether he'll be driving.

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He also noted it was important to remember the study focussed on mortality rates, not quality of life.

On average, each unit of alcohol consumed over the 100g threshold, slices about 15 minutes off a person's life-about the same as a cigarette, David Spiegelhalter, a professor in the "understanding of risk" at the University of Cambridge said in a comment on the report. The group partly funded the study, which was published Thursday by the Lancet journal. "Drinking is really fun, but you should not do it for your health". For example, having 10 or more drinks per week was linked with one to two years shorter life expectancy.

"Excessive drinking for an extended period of time increases the risk of cardiovascular disease". It offers strong evidence to support recommendations that people drink within relatively low alcohol limits, like those recently introduced in the UK.

These limits are lower than the levels for many other countries, but this latest study suggests they are about right.

"Higher alcohol consumption is associated with lower risk of heart attack, but higher risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart events".

According to a new report that looked at the habits of 600,000 drinkers, regularly knocking back above the United Kingdom alcohol guidelines (as in, something that many of us do) could shave years from your life expectancy. "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".

The study doesn't take into account the possibility of accompanying mental disorders, such as dementia, which could explain why people reduced their alcohol consumption over the follow-up period.

"The data make it even clearer that the alcohol industry is promoting a misleading view that alcohol use is benign", he says.

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