Alcoholism shortens life more than smoking

Alcoholism shortens life more than smoking

Researchers found death rates were OVER FOUR TIMES HIGHER in alcohol-dependent women, compared with the general population.  So more and more we are finding that drinking appears to contribute more to early death than other risk factors, such as smoking. 

Ulrich John, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at University Medicine Greifswald, said "We found that the mean age at death was 60 for females and 58 for males, both of which are about 20 years lower than the mean age at death among the general population.  None of those deceased had reached the age of life expectancy.  Females are much more vulnerable to toxins, such as alcohol”. 

Alcohol dependence, it concludes, is twice as deadly for women as it is for men. 

Dr. James Garbutt, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina said “This paper confirms the well-known association between alcoholism and premature death.  It also supports the evidence that women are more likely to have more severe health problems from alcohol than men — ‘sicker quicker.’” 

Susan Foster, CASA Columbia’s vice president and director of policy research and analysis, said the new findings were in line with an existing body of research that shows “the impact of alcohol on women is particularly harsh.  When using the same amount, or less, women experience more health problems, more dependence and more hospitalizations than men.  Women’s bodies contain less water and more body fat than men. Water dilutes alcohol, while fat helps retain it in the body.  Thus, women end up with higher concentrations of alcohol in their blood stream.  On average, one drink for women has the impact of two drinks per men”. 

Bruce Goldman, director of substance abuse services at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., said “Alcohol dependence is a chronic and sometimes fatal disease. There is evidence that the impact of alcohol can be more devastating in women than men.  Get help or you may be literally drinking away years of your life.” 

Study published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, October 16, 2012.  Ulrich John, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at University Medicine Greifswald, and colleagues, collected data on more than 4,000 men and women who were part of a 14-year German registry.  As reported by HealthDay news on October 16, 2012.


Posted: Thursday 22 November 2012