Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

That Extra Glass of Wine Might Take 30 Minutes Off Your Life

That Extra Glass of Wine Might Take 30 Minutes Off Your Life

More than that raises the risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm (a ruptured artery in the chest), heart failure and death.

Researchers also found there is still a small benefit to drinking, The Guardian said. "The world of wine, beer and spirits must take responsibility by using the most eco-friendly and recyclable packaging possible".

"The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines has roughly two years lower life expectancy, which is around a twentieth of their remaining life". Consuming two bacon sandwiches a week or sitting watching a hour of television per day is statistically more risky for long-term health.

Drinking the equivalent of 12 to 21 glasses of wine per week lowers life expectancy by 1 to 2 years and drinking more than 21 glasses per week shortens life by 4 to 5 years, the study said. By contrast, increased alcohol consumption was associated with a somewhat lower risk of non-fatal heart attacks ("myocardial infarction"). So it's as if each unit above guidelines is taking, on average, about 15 minutes of life, about the same as a cigarette.

"Of course, it's up to individuals whether they think this is worthwhile".

"Alcohol consumption is associated with a slightly lower risk of nonfatal heart attacks, but this must be balanced against the higher risk associated with other serious-and potentially fatal- cardiovascular diseases", cautioned lead study author Angela Wood from the University of Cambridge.

The study of almost 600,000 drinkers found that the risk of death from all causes increased as alcohol consumption climbed. Countries with higher recommended limits, including the United States, should lower them, the report suggests.

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Tim Chico, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, said smokers lost on average 10 years of life.

Scientists compared the health and drinking habits of alcohol drinkers in 19 countries, then calculated how much life a person could expect to lose if they drank the same way for the rest of their lives.

Commenting on the study Prof David Spiegelhalter of the University of Cambridge, said: "This is a massive and very impressive study". "We should always remember that alcohol guidelines should act as a limit, not a target, and try to drink well below this threshold".

"This is a serious wake-up call for many countries", said Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation charity, which helped fund the study, in a statement.

"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", Wood added.

Limits notwithstanding, the research team couldn't be clearer on their results. "Nonetheless, the findings ought to be widely disseminated and they should provoke informed public and professional debate".

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