People who drink alcohol live longer

People who drink alcohol live longerPeople who drink regularly live longer than those who completely abstain from alcohol, a new study has found.

Researchers found that those who did not consume any alcohol appeared to have a higher mortality rate, regardless of whether they were former heavy drinkers or not, than those who drank heavily.

The team led by Charles Holahan, a psychologist at the University of Texas, found moderate drinking - defined as one to three drinks per day - was associated with the lowest mortality rate, 'The Independent' reported.

The study set out to examine the association between alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality over 20 years among 1,824 older adults.
The study found that controlling only for age and gender, compared to moderate drinkers, abstainers had a more than 2 times increased mortality risk, heavy drinkers had 70 per cent increased risk, and light drinkers had 23 per cent increased risk.

"A model controlling for former problem drinking status, existing health problems, and key sociodemographic and social-behavioural factors, as well as for age and gender, substantially reduced the mortality effect for abstainers compared to moderate drinkers," the authors noted in the
journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"However, even after adjusting for all covariates, abstainers and heavy drinkers continued to show increased mortality risks of 51 and 45 per cent, respectively, compared to moderate drinkers," they said.

"Even after taking account of traditional and non-traditional covariates, moderate alcohol consumption continued to show a beneficial effect in predicting mortality risk," they concluded.

What is Moderate Drinking or Alcohol Consumption?
by David J. Hanson, Ph. D.

What is sensible or moderate drinking? It depends on whom you ask. The U.S. government defines moderte drinking as consuming no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women. And even that has changed. Until recently, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s definition permitted men to drink up to four drinks on a day and still be considered moderate drinkers.

A drink in the U.S. is a 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, a five-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink). Each contains the same amount of alcohol -- six-tenths of an ounce and they are all the same to a Breathalyzer.

Other countries have different definitions of moderate drinking in terms of daily consumption as seen in this graph.

Moderate drinkers tend to have better health and live longer than those who are either abstainers or heavy drinkers do. In addition to having fewer heart attacks and strokes, moderate consumers of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine or distilled spirits or liquor) are generally less likely to suffer hypertension or high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, Alzheimer's disease and the common cold. Sensible drinking also appears to be beneficial in reducing or preventing diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, bone fractures and osteoporosis, kidney stones, digestive ailments, stress and depression, poor cognition and memory, Parkinson's disease, hepatitis A, pancreatic cancer, macular degeneration (a major cause of blindness), angina pectoris, duodenal ulcer, erectile dysfunction, hearing loss, gallstones, liver disease and poor physical condition in elderly.

Standard Drinks
Standard Drinks graphically illustrates information on the equivalence of standard drinks of beer, wine and distilled spirits or liquor. Its accuracy has been established by medical and other health professionals.
The risk of dying in any given year is 25 percent lower for those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. 

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