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Check Yourself: Alcohol Disease Risks and the Mortality Rates Associated with Your Level of Drinking

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Check your alcohol disease risks.

Want to stay healthy and happy and fit into old age? Well, there aren't any guarantees, but in general, by taking care today, you stay well tomorrow. To check yourself, consider the disease and death rates associated with varying levels of alcohol consumption. Are you satisfied with your level of risk, or should you make some changes?

Note – though thinking about early death, cancer, alcoholic liver disease, and alcoholic heart disease can be upsetting, remember, if you’re still healthy you still have time to change and protect yourself from debilitating disease.

Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Disease and Death

Based on data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Tip 35.1

Heart Disease Death Rate (for Men and Women.)

  • If you drink an average of between 0 and 17 drinks per week your risk of heart disease death is 7 in 1000.
  • If you drink an average of between 18 and 38 drinks per week your risk of heart disease death is 9 in 1000.
  • If you drink an average of 39 or more drinks per week your risk of heart disease death is 14 in 1000.

Liver Cirrhosis (for Men)

  • Non drinkers = a death rate of 1.5 persons/1000.
  • Drinking an average of 14 drinks or less per week = a death rate of 1 person/1000.
  • Drinking an average of 15 or more drinks per week = a death rate of 5.5/1000.

All Cancers (for Men)

  • Drinking an average of 0 to 11 drinks per week = a death rate of 25 people /1000.
  • Drinking an average of 12 to 38 drinks per week = a death rate of 40 people/1000.
  • Drinking an average of 39 or more drinks per week = a death rate of 120 people/1000.

Breast Cancer (for Women)

  • Drinking an average of 0 to 17 drinks per week = a death rate of 10 people/1000.
  • Drinking an average of 18 to 38 drinks per week = a death rate of 17/1000.
  • Drinking an average of 39 drinks per week or more = a death rate of 16/1000.

Take Home Message

We’ve all heard stories of somebody’s grandfather who drank a 6 pack a day and lived to 100 – but the truth is, heavy drinking most often shortens a lifespan – sometimes dramatically.

If you drink too much, think about how much your habit gives and how much it takes, and if you’re not willing to give up years of your life for your habit, then take action now and make a change for the better.

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Page last updated 17/06/2015

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