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Study raises concerns about long-term impacts of alcohol

Study raises concerns about long-term impacts of alcohol

The new study estimates that 40-year-old men who drink as much as current US guidelines suggest can expect to live one to two years less than men who have no more than seven drinks per week. Meanwhile, 18 drinks or more per week was linked to four to five years shorter life expectancy.

Overall, the public health message of the study is "if you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions", Wood said.

Scientists analysed almost 600,000 drinkers in 19 countries, and calculated how much their life would be reduced if they drank the same amount for the rest of their lives from the age of 40.

The "safe" limit of drinking before the risk of death increased is around 12.5 alcohol units per week - the equivalent of around five pints of beer.

Drinking one alcoholic drink on a daily basis could shorten your life expectancy, a new study suggests.

Current Irish guidelines recommend a limit of 170g pure alcohol (17 standard drinks) per week for men and 110g pure alcohol (11 standard drinks) for women.

This equates to around six pints of 4% strength beer or six 175ml glasses of 13% wine.

Dr Bartone said all studies showed there was no "safe level" of alcohol consumption, and European health agencies have always been advocating to keep drinking to a minimum, as it is a contributing factor to a number of cancers, liver disease and all forms of heart disease and stroke. Alcohol drinking is linked to strokes, heart failure, and fatal aneurysm.

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Drinking sensibly has been shown in the past to reduce the chance of a non-fatal heart attack and can even be good for the brain.

Previous studies have suggested that drinking red wine can be good for our hearts, although some scientists have suggested these benefits may be overhyped. The really heaviest drinkes out there might lose as many years of life as a smoker (ten years lost), the researchers say.

Many Americans might be drinking too much alcohol. Public health advocates have criticized the Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health (MACH15) study in part because starting in 2013, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism solicited donations from the world's biggest alcohol producers, according to the New York Times, to fund the $100 million study-a project equal to a quarter of the agency's annual budget.

The study uses self-reported alcohol consumption across 19 high-income countries.

The upper recommended limit for men in the United States is nearly 25 units of alcohol per week. In an effort to avoid the problems that have plagued alcohol and health studies for decades, researchers only studied current drinkers, excluding abstainers or those who'd quit drinking.

The researchers also note that the varying nature of alcohol guidelines from country to country makes the study's implications particularly impactful.

Authors of the Lancet study said their findings backed up the new guidelines and also said they did not find an increased risk of death for light drinkers.

Researchers relied on what participants reported drinking at the start, recognizing that many people may be lowballing how much they actually down.

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