German researchers claim heavy drinking can kill you sooner than smoking
17th October 2012
According to experts in Germany, heavy boozing can send you to an early grave and ‘kills you quicker than smoking’ they say. In particularly, women who drink heavily are at a much greater risk of a premature death in comparison to men. Academics in Germany recently published their study and the subsequent startling findings in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Professor Ulrich John, of University Medicine Greifswald and his team analysed a completely random selection of over 4,000 people between the ages of 18 and 64. From this total, 153 were identified as being alcohol dependent (AD). Of the 153, 149 were closely tracked for 14 years (119 men, 30 women). This latest study has caused such a buzz mainly because it has assessed the impact of alcohol dependency over a longer period of time, whereas past studies have been mainly established via clinical trials to find risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Professor Ulrich John explained, “Clinical data have revealed a higher proportion of individuals who have died than among the general population of the same age. Gender-specific data are rare, even among clinical samples. Furthermore, these studies have two main limitations. First, we know that only a minority of AD individuals receive treatment of this disorder, but we lack knowledge about how this selection occurs. Second, we have no evidence about potential effects of specialised alcoholism treatment on mortality among people who had been diagnosed as AD. We would like to know whether treatment might enhance survival time. For ethical reasons, no controlled trials are possible. Thus, longitudinal descriptive data as in this study are helpful.” After the 14 years, there were some shocking findings for Professor John. He continued, “First, we found that annualised death rates were 4.6-fold higher for females and 1.9-fold higher for males compared to the age- and gender-specific general population. Second, we found that the mean age at death was 60 for females and 58 for males, both of which are about 20 years lower than the mean age at death among the general population. None of those deceased had reached the age of life expectancy. Third, having participated in inpatient AD treatment was not related with longer survival compared to not having taken part in treatment, meaning that it did not seem to have a sufficient protective effect against premature death.” Overall the findings would seem to heavily suggest that alcohol abuse can result in more early fatalities compared to a lifetime of smoking. Professor John concluded, “Smoking-related death cases are more due to cancers which seem to occur later in life than many alcohol-attributable causes of death do. Furthermore, drinking can also contribute to other risky behaviours such as smoking, becoming overweight, and obesity. Alcohol is a dangerous product and should be consumed only within guidelines.” If you think you have an alcohol dependency problem, Medical Specialists Pharmacy believes you should see your own GP as soon as possible. A dependency on alcohol is risked if you are regularly drinking large quantities of alcohol and find it difficult to even go through a single day without feeling like you need a drink. With many people, a high tolerance to alcohol may develop and larger amounts of alcohol than previous are needed before any effects are actually felt. By visiting your GP, they can warn you of the health dangers that your drinking is having and the resulting damage to your body that will occur if you continue down that particular path. In addition, they can offer treatment programs and get you involved in support groups or counselling. It has been proven on many occasions that alcoholics can cut down or stop drinking altogether by discussing their problems, and from the additional support of family and friends. However, alcohol is not the only subject in this story. Medical Specialists Pharmacy is slightly concerned that people could misinterpret the findings from this particular study and now underestimate the dangers of smoking, wrongly believing it is safe to smoke. Both heavy smoking and alcohol intake are incredibly damaging to a person’s health and ideally both should be limited to an absolute minimum, or stopped altogether. In fact already this year we have discussed how smoking can contribute towards the bone disease osteoporosis, skin cancer and asthma. In addition we have recently looked in-depth at the huge hidden health risks associated with secondhand and thirdhand smoking. Prevent the risk of developing these conditions today though with the help of Medical Specialists.  Champix is a prescription medication that can be obtained following an online consultation with one of our GMC registered doctors. It works out from as little as just £75.00 per pack, an incredibly small price when it comes to your long-term health. Champix mimics the effect of nicotine on the body, reducing the urge to smoke and relieving withdrawal symptoms. It can also decrease the enjoyment you experience of smoking if you are still smoking whilst on the treatment.