Taking One Drink Daily Can Still Be Harmful To Health, Study Finds

Having one small drink per day can still be detrimental to health, according to a new study.

Senior author Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou said it’s not even safe to have any alcohol at all. She referred to the idea that one or two drinks are safe for health as “a myth.” The research team discovered that any level of drinking is linked to an increased risk of early death.

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Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, have now discovered even more about just how harmful it can be to have even as little as one drink on daily basis.

The new study focused on the impact of alcohol on light drinkers specifically, so its findings — now published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

First author Dr. Sarah M. Hartz said;

“It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health. But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk.”

Drinking alcohol in small quantity still increases chances of death

The authors of the recent study analyzed data collected from 434,321 participants, aged 18–85. Of these, 340,668 (aged 18–85) were recruited via the National Health Interview Survey, and 93,653 (aged 40–60) provided health information as outpatients at Veterans Health Administration sites.

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Dr. Hartz and team found that people who had one or two drinks four or more times weekly had a 20 percent higher risk of premature death, compared with those who drank only three times per week or less often. This increased death risk, the study authors add, remains consistent across all age groups.

“A 20 percent increase in risk of death is a much bigger deal in older people who already are at higher risk,” notes Dr. Hartz.

“Moderately few people die in their 20s, so a 20 percent increase in mortality is small but still significant,” she adds.

“As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 percent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25.”

The dangers are greater than benefits

Dr. Hartz and team discloses that the health dangers for even people who drink lightly overshadows any possible benefits.

When the scientists evaluated the risk for heart disease and cancer, they discovered that though drinking a little did help protect the heart in some cases, daily consumption, even when light, increases a person’s risk of cancer.

Dr. Hartz explains;

“Taking one or two drinks about four days per week appeared to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day reduced those benefits.”

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She warned that any drinking at all was damaging, with regard to cancer.

However, Dr. Hartz also believes that in the future, health practitioners may want to develop more highly personalized guidelines for their patients.

Therefore, healthcare providers might advise people at risk of developing heart problems to drink on occasion. They may encourage those who are at risk of cancer to completely quit drinking.

Dr. Hartz warns that drinking one glass of wine a day isn’t healthy, rather it’s damaging to health.

 

Image source: istock

Article source: Medicalnewstoday

 

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