“How much daily alcohol intake is safe?” – A common question that every doctor face.
Here might be the answer:
A large new global study published in the Lancet has confirmed previous research which has shown that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
The researchers admit moderate drinking may protect against heart disease but found that the risk of cancer and other diseases outweighs these protections.
A study author said its findings were the most significant to date because of the range of factors considered.
The Global Burden of Disease study looked at levels of alcohol use and its health effects in 195 countries, including the UK, between 1990 and 2016.
Analysing data from 15 to 95-year-olds, the researchers compared people who did not drink at all with those who had one alcoholic drink a day.
They found that out of 100,000 non-drinkers, 914 would develop an alcohol-related health problem such as cancer or suffer an injury.
But an extra four people would be affected if they drank one alcoholic drink a day.
For people who had two alcoholic drinks a day, 63 more developed a condition within a year and for those who consumed five drinks every day, there was an increase of 338 people, who developed a health problem.
"Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increases with any amount of alcohol.
"The strong association between alcohol consumption and the risk of cancer, injuries, and infectious diseases offset the protective effects for heart disease in our study.
"Although the health risks associated with alcohol start off being small with one drink a day, they then rise rapidly as people drink more."
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This data changes rapidly, so what’s shown may be out of date. Table totals may not always represent an accurate sum. Information about reported cases is also available on the World Health Organisation site.
It doesn’t include all cases
Confirmed cases aren’t all cases. They only include people who tested positive. Testing rules and availability vary by country.