Regular Drinking To Excess Could Take Years Off Your Life, Says Study

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Regular Drinking To Excess Could Take Years Off Your Life, Says Study

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

The study estimated that those who consume between 10 and 15 alcoholic drinks every week could have their lives shorted by one to two years, and even if you're only on five to 10 drinks a week, that could still shorten your life by up to six months.

Researchers also warned that anyone who necks more than 18 drinks a week could end up losing four to five years of their lives. Ouch.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Bearing in mind that the 2016 UK guidelines recommend no more than 14 units per week - or the equivalent of six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine - it sounds like a fair few of us could be in trouble.

Just think how easy it is to sink six pints of nice, cold lager on a hot summer's day, or to work your way through a few glasses of wine after a long day.

The study's researchers also found that drinking increased the risk of cardiovascular illness, with every 12.5 units over the guidelines raising the risk of a stroke by 14 percent, fatal hypertensive disease by 24 percent, heart failure by nine percent and fatal aortic aneurysm by 15 percent.

University of Cambridge's Dr Angela Wood, lead author of the study, said: "The key message of this research is that, if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions."



Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, reckons the study is proof that drinking lots and getting away with it is 'too good to be true'.

"This study makes clear that on balance there are no health benefits from drinking alcohol, which is usually the case when things sound too good to be true," he said.

"Although non-fatal heart attacks are less likely in people who drink, this benefit is swamped by the increased risk of other forms of heart disease including fatal heart attacks and strokes."


The recommeneded alcohol limits in Italy, Portugal and Spain are almost 50 percent higher than those of the UK's, while the USA's upper limit for men is also nearly double this.

However, Victoria Taylor, who is a senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, which partly funded the study, said that this doesn't mean the UK 'should rest on its laurels'.

"Many people in the UK regularly drink over what's recommended," she said.

"We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target, and try to drink well below this threshold."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, News, Alcohol, UK

Jess Hardiman
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