Excess Alcohol Causes One in 10 Premature Deaths

Excess Alcohol Causes One in 10 Premature DeathsAlcohol ranks as the fourth greatest source of preventable deaths after smoking, insufficient nutrition, and inadequate physical activity. A study found that overindulging in alcohol accounts for one in 10 deaths per year among working-age adults. These fatalities go beyond the typical cirrhosis of the liver and drunken car crashes. The researchers determined that binge drinking and over consumption of alcohol contribute to chronic diseases that kill adults in their prime years. Order prescriptions to treat numerous illnesses from Canada Drug Pharmacy. Speed up this process by shopping for drugs by condition.

Study Findings

Almost 88,000 annual American deaths between 2006 and 2010 encompassed acute causes including alcohol poisoning, car crashes, and violence, plus alcohol-related illnesses like liver and heart diseases and breast cancer. Working-age adults ranging from 20 to 64 accounted for about 70 percent of these deaths. Heavy drinking took around 30 years off each life, totaling roughly 2.5 million years lost overall.

Short-term reasons like collisions and accidents killed approximately 1.7 million subjects while about 800,000 died due to long-term health conditions such as cancers and strokes. The highest annual mortality causes were 14,364 people with alcoholic liver disease, 12,460 auto accidents, 8179 suicides, 7800 liver cirrhosis, 7756 homicides, and 3700 with alcohol dependence syndrome. Other causes included falls, drownings, and poisonings from combining alcohol with substances including pills. In cases like these without disease causes, the research team included subjects with blood-alcohol levels of 0.10 percent or higher, which is above the 0.08 legal limit.

Of all those who died too young, males accounted for 71 percent. Researcher Dafna Kanny with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that men tend to consume excessive alcohol amounts and binge drink more than women. Male drivers in fatal vehicle crashes are nearly twice as liable to be intoxicated as women. Those driving long distances in rural areas had more drunken driving problems. Men are also more apt to participate in homicides.

Death statistics per 100,000 residents varied greatly between states. On the high end, 51.2 fatalities occurred in New Mexico, 41.1 in Alaska, and 37.7 in Montana. States at the low end of the spectrum included Hawaii with 20.8 deaths, New York with 19.6, and New Jersey with 19.1. These people who drank alcohol in excess were contributing members of society, whether building careers or well established professionally. So this study shows that dying too soon from alcohol has a much broader reach than college drinking, drunk driving, and alcoholism.

In 2006, the tab for excessive drinking and premature fatalities was an estimated $224 billion, around $1.90 per beverage. Heavy drinkers’ reduced earnings and early deaths account for 72 percent of that amount. Binge drinking was responsible for over 50 percent of all fatalities and 75 percent of alcohol’s economic costs.

Research Process

Study authors classified excessive alcohol consumption as binging at least five drinks for men and four or up for women, 15 or more weekly beverages for men and eight for women, plus young people under age 21 and pregnant women drinking any amounts. Among younger adults, the investigators didn’t account for other death causes like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and pneumonia where alcohol is a major contributing factor.

Results came from the CDC’s Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI), an online tool containing the numbers of deaths that resulted from alcohol in the nation and individual states. A group of alcohol and public health experts developed scientific techniques to analyze mortality statistics from state and local governments and estimate deaths that occurred due to drinking. The researchers note that self-reported alcohol amounts might underestimate excessive drinking’s actual prevalence.

Lowering the Death Toll

This study’s findings reflect similar global research by highlighting the considerable effects of excessive drinking on lifespan and productivity loss. A comparable 2001 study determined that alcohol caused 75,000 deaths with 2.3 million years lost in total, so the problem is worsening. The researchers hope the CDC will monitor mortality rates more frequently to spread awareness of this alarming trend.

Lowering the Death TollKanny offered recommendations on how to reduce the high numbers of people who die from excessive drinking. Doctors can help by conducting alcohol screenings and referring patients who drink too much to counseling. Responsible older adults can set good examples for the younger generation by not consuming alcohol excessively and not providing it to underage youth. State governments could pass stronger alcohol regulations and publicize excessive drinking’s potentially deadly consequences more. Other strategies include raising taxes on alcohol, limiting alcohol sales hours, decreasing the number of places that can sell it, and holding them liable for damages and injuries if they serve underage or intoxicated consumers illegally.

According to the CDC’s Dr. Robert Brewer, increasing alcohol costs 10 percent could reduce consumption 7 percent. Yet taxes on alcohol usually are lower than those for cigarettes. William Kerr, an Alcohol Research Group scientist, agrees that governments could strengthen current alcohol regulation policies. Because alcohol availability and affordability can lead to overuse and binge drinking, reducing access and increasing prices could reduce the death toll.