Americans today are expected to live shorter lives than just a few years ago, in contrast with trends seen in other developed nations, and rising deaths from alcohol-related liver disease may be partly to blame, researchers say.
Analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they found that U.S. deaths from alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) are at their highest levels since 1999 and have risen every year since 2006 in nearly every racial, ethnic and age group.
The researchers analyzed causes of death for people aged 25 and older in the two decades since 1997, and found that 2017 had the highest rates of death from ALD, at 13.1 per 100,000 deaths in men and 5.6 per 100,000 in women. That compares to 1999 ALD mortality rates of 10.6 per 100,000 in men and 3.3 per 100,000 in women.
Mortality rates and recent increases in ALD diagnoses were particularly pronounced among middle-aged adults, Native Americans and non-Hispanic whites, the researchers report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Read the whole article at Reuters »
Related » CBC News » U.S. life expectancy being driven down by middle-aged deaths, study suggests
In 2016, the U.S. ranked only 43rd among 195 countries with an average lifespan of 78.7 years. In 2040, that’s only 21 years from now, Americans are forecast to drop 21 spots, to 64th, as other nations make faster gains.
The top five health drivers that explain most of the future trajectory for premature mortality are high blood pressure, high body mass index, high blood sugar, tobacco use, and alcohol use, Foreman said. Air pollution ranked sixth.
More from Bloomberg
Alcohol is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers.
Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year — more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.
The UN health agency’s latest report on alcohol and health pointed out that alcohol causes more than one in 20 deaths globally each year, including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse and a multitude of diseases and disorders.
Men account for more than three quarters of alcohol-related deaths, the nearly 500-page report found.
More at AFP via Yahoo
Selection bias, that is chosing who is to be studied, has a lot to do with research outcomes.
An analysis from 2007 by an international group of alcohol epidemiologists and addiction researchers, published in Annals of Epidemiology, notes that “as people progress into late middle and old age, their consumption of alcohol declines in tandem with ill health, frailty, dementia, and/or use of medications.” That decline means that, as people become less well—even if they’re not elderly—they will also tend to stop drinking. So when they enroll in a study on drinking and get lumped into the group of non-drinkers, they’ll artificially inflate the mortality risk—even though their deaths have nothing to do with alcohol abstention. It’s not that teetotaling made them more likely to die during the course of the study; it’s that being closer to death made them more likely to quit alcohol. And people who drink, but are able to keep their drinking at a reasonable level, are likely to have the kind of health and social advantages associated with living longer.
“People who in their teens or twenties begin to drink, don’t die or become alcoholics, and are able to maintain drinking at low levels—that’s a select group of drinkers,” says Naimi. And that means when epidemiologists go looking at people who are still moderate drinkers in middle age, they’re missing some key people. “If you look at people in midlife who are stable, moderate drinkers, that means they didn’t die from their drinking and they didn’t quit drinking.” That sounds obvious, but let’s take a second to think about it: Alcohol is an addictive substance. People who have had a healthy relationship with it their entire lives are probably people who also have a bunch of other advantageous qualities.
There is still a chance that one or two drinks a day has some benefit for your heart. If it does exist, researchers like Naimi think it’s probably pretty small, and that matters because there are a lot of other diseases that we know alcohol increases your risk of contracting. These include liver cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, oral cancer, tuberculosis, pancreatitis, cirrhosis and related liver diseases, and a whole host of others.
In the study of 68,273 Swedish men and women aged 45 to 83 years who were followed for 16 years, participants who most closely followed an anti-inflammatory diet had an 18% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a 13% lower risk of cancer mortality, when compared with those who followed the diet to a lesser degree. Smokers who followed the diet experienced even greater benefits when compared with smokers who did not follow the diet.
Anti-inflammatory foods consist of fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, whole grain bread, breakfast cereal, low-fat cheese, olive oil and canola oil, nuts, chocolate, and moderate amounts of red wine and beer. Pro-inflammatory foods include unprocessed and processed red meat, organ meats, chips, and soft-drink beverages.
Read more at ScienceDaily.com
This is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. There is no healthy level of alcohol consumption.
The uncompromising message comes from the authors of the Global Burden of Diseases study, a rolling project based at the University of Washington, in Seattle, which produces the most comprehensive data on the causes of illness and death in the world.
Alcohol, says their report published in the Lancet medical journal, led to 2.8 million deaths in 2016. It was the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability in the 15 to 49 age group, accounting for 20% of deaths.
Current alcohol drinking habits pose “dire ramifications for future population health in the absence of policy action today”, says the paper. “Alcohol use contributes to health loss from many causes and exacts its toll across the lifespan, particularly among men.”
Most national guidelines suggest there are health benefits to one or two glasses of wine or beer a day, they say. “Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.”
“The conclusions of the study are clear and unambiguous: alcohol is a colossal global health issue,” said Robyn Burton of King’s College London.
Read More at The Guardian
Lancet Medical Journal article
More at Newsweek, BBC, Fortune
Life expectancy in the US has not kept pace with progress in other industrialized nations and is now decreasing.
Mortality among adults aged 25-64 years in the United States has increased across racial-ethnic populations, especially in recent years, offsetting years of progress in lowering mortality rates.
Drug overdoses were the leading cause of increased mortality in midlife in each population, but mortality also increased for alcohol related conditions, suicides, and organ diseases involving multiple body systems. Although midlife mortality among whites increased across a multitude of conditions, a similar trend affected non-white populations.
Stephanie Mencimer, Mother Jones:
Way back in 1988, the World Health Organization declared alcohol a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning that it’s been proved to cause cancer. There is no known safe dosage in humans, according to the WHO. Alcohol causes at least seven types of cancer, but it kills more women from breast cancer than from any other. The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that for every drink consumed daily, the risk of breast cancer goes up 7 percent.
The research linking alcohol to breast cancer is deadly solid. There’s no controversy here. Alcohol, regardless of whether it’s in Everclear or a vintage Bordeaux, is carcinogenic. More than 100 studies over several decades have reaffirmed the link with consistent results. The National Cancer Institute says alcohol raises breast cancer risk even at low levels.
I’m a pretty voracious reader of health news, and all of this came as a shock. I’d been told red wine was supposed to defend against heart disease, not give you cancer. And working at Mother Jones, I thought I’d written or read articles on everything that could maybe possibly cause cancer: sugar, plastic, milk, pesticides, shampoo, the wrong sunscreen, tap water…You name it, we’ve reported on the odds that it might give you cancer. As I schlepped back and forth to the hospital for surgery and radiation treatments, I started to wonder how I could know about the risk associated with all these other things but not alcohol. It turns out there was a good reason for my ignorance.