Doing these things could lower death risk in alcohol drinking

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In a new study, researchers found that different patterns of alcohol consumption—including drinking wine, consuming alcohol with food and spreading alcohol intake over three to four days—were linked to a lesser risk of negative health outcomes such as death.

They found that regular spirit and beer/cider drinkers had a higher adjusted risk of death, major cardiovascular events, liver cirrhosis and accidents/self-harm when compared to those who drank red and white wine.

Similarly, drinking alcohol without food was linked to a 10% higher mortality and heart risk when compared to alcohol consumed with food at a similar average amount.

In addition, spreading alcohol consumption over three to four days a week was linked to lower mortality, heart, and cirrhosis risks than consuming alcohol daily.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of Glasgow.

Alcohol consumption is one of the leading risk factors for death, and heavy drinking is associated with a higher risk of cancer, major cardiovascular events, and injuries.

Current guidelines focus on recommended daily and weekly average amounts of alcohol consumption; however, recommendations on the pattern and type of alcohol are not available.

In the study, the team used data from over 309,000 people from the UK Biobank.

They found people who consumed predominantly non-wines had a much higher risk of all-causes of death (25%), major heart disease events (31%), and liver cirrhosis (48%) when compared to predominantly red wine drinkers.

Beer/cider drinkers were also found to have a much higher risk of these health outcomes.

Once or twice weekly alcohol consumption was linked to a higher risk of death (9%) and heart disease events (14%) compared to participants drinking alcohol over three to four days a week.

People drinking alcohol daily, or almost daily, were found to have a higher risk of liver cirrhosis.

The team’s first suggestion would be for regular drinkers to follow the recommended government guidelines.

Other ways to further lower the alcohol consumption related health risks might be to spread consumption over the course of three or four days—whilst being careful not to increase their overall intake—and consider opting for red or white wine and drinking with meals where possible.

One author of the study is Dr. Bhautesh Jani, Clinical Senior Lecturer in General Practice.

The study is published in BMC Medicine.

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