Tag Archives: moderate drinking

alcohol consumption in young men

Alcohol Consumption in Young Men Heightens Risk of Liver Disease

The results of a published study confirm that when young men drink alcohol, they are putting themselves at a higher level of risk for severe liver disease over time. This risk factor depends on the number of servings the young men consume and affects them for up to 39 years, researchers have found.

Hannes Hagström, MD, PhD, from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet, explained that the precise amount necessary to damage the liver is not clear. Several factors determine alcohol’s influence on an individual’s liver, such as:

• Genetics
• Drinking patterns
• Type of alcohol ingested
• Diet

Multiple Risk Factors for Alcoholism

Dr. Hagström went on to say that the new study suggests that the risks associated with alcohol consumption are already present early in life. It’s likely that the risk increases the longer a man is exposed to alcohol, and that someone with a history of long-term alcohol use is at higher risk for developing severe liver disease.

The researchers looked at data from a 1969-1970 Swedish national population study. All the 49,321 participants (men aged 18-20 years) had been enlisted for conscription, and 43,296 were available to answer follow-up questions in 2009.

The participants filled out questionnaires about their alcohol consumption. The results were as follows:

• 43.2 percent reported 1-5 grams per day
• 4.6 percent reported more than 60 grams per day
• 6.1 percent abstained from consuming alcohol

In the US, a standard alcoholic beverage (5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor) contains 14 grams of alcohol.

Study Participants Followed for Years

During a follow-up conducted over the next 39 years, 2,661 men received a formal alcohol abuse diagnosis. Of these men, 243 were later diagnosed with severe liver disease. The average time from the participants’ conscription to the first diagnosis of severe liver disease was 25.5 years.

Compared to men who didn’t drink alcohol, the risk for an alcohol abuse diagnosis increased moderately for men who reported 1-5 grams per day. It was highly elevated for men who reported a consumption rate of more than 60 grams per day.

The researchers admit that the study has limitations: drinking at a young age is only one part of a person’s lifetime pattern of alcohol use. It didn’t take the effect of binge drinking into account, for example.

This shows that even people who may not be considered addicts, alcoholics or even heavy users are still likely to cause considerable damage to themselves over time.

Alcohol and its Link to Strokes

strokecoverAs if more reasons were needed to not drink alcohol, scientists who have been researching strokes for many years have recently found a connection between the likelihood of a stroke and a person’s alcohol consumption. These researchers have published a paper stating that people who drink more than two drinks a day during their middle ages are more likely to experience a stroke sooner than a person who does not consume that much alcohol, or any at all.

Strokes occur when there is a problem with the blood supply that the brain needs. There are two different ways the blood supply can be affected and result in a stroke. The first is when the blood is blocked from reaching the brain and the other is when a blood vessel within the brain bursts.

“Our study showed that drinking more than two drinks per day can shorten time to stroke by about five years,” explained Pavla Kadlecova, an employee at St. Anne’s University Hospital International Clinical Research Center in the Czech Republic and one of the researchers on the study.

In order to go about investigating a link between alcohol and strokes, researchers reviewed 11,644 sets of twins, all of which were middle aged. The study followed these twins starting in 1967. The participants were asked a series of questions in 1967 and then again in 1970. They continued to monitor the subjects throughout their lives and by 2010 had a plethora of data regarding lifestyle, health problems and in some cases, causes of death. About 30 percent of the subjects had strokes, and the scientists then classified them by their alcohol consumption; light, moderate, heavy or none.

Taking this information, researchers were able to calculate that the risk for a stroke was even greater for those that drank more than moderately and were over the age of 50. The scientists were also able to state that the connection between drinking heavily during the middle of one’s life is more of a factor than genetics when assessing risk for a stroke. For those people who consumed more than average amounts of alcohol during their ‘50s and ‘60s, a stroke could come much earlier than someone who had not participated in the same level of drinking.