Studies show that every year there are about 2.5 million alcohol-related deaths worldwide. However, apart from causing harm to an individual, alcohol abuse can also affect other people and the society as a whole. Alcoholism can lead to violent behavior, cause accidents, and can negatively affect relationships as well as work productivity. What are the facts and data about alcohol related death? How to prevent the harmful effects of alcohol consumption?
Data and Facts About Alcohol Related Death
Alcohol related deaths result from the harmful use of the substance. This is generally defined as the excessive use of alcohol, which leads to health problems. In addition to this, a significant part of the problem that burdens society results from injuries sustained intentionally or unintentionally. These include fatal injuries related to violence, suicide, or road accidents. These injuries are common among younger people. Studies show that:
- Nearly 2.5 million alcohol-related deaths occur annually from illnesses and injuries that affect many young people, especially from developing countries.
- About 4% of all deaths are alcohol-related, and these include those caused by cardiovascular disease, chronic liver disease (liver cirrhosis), and cancer.
- About 6.2% of deaths in males are related to alcohol use while one percent of alcohol-related deaths occur in females.
- Among individuals age 15 to 19 years, about 320,000 people die annually from alcohol abuse. This accounts for nearly nine percent of all deaths in this age group.
- The good news is that nearly half of all men and two-thirds of all women do not consume alcoholic drinks.
- Alcohol consumption is the leading risk factor related to disease in Western Pacific countries. It ranks second in Europe and third in the world as the biggest risk factor for disease.
- Together with tobacco smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise, harmful alcohol use is a major risk factor for developing non-communicable diseases, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung disease.
- Aside from non-communicable diseases, alcohol use may also be related to infectious diseases such as sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. Excessive alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system, affect one’s better judgment, and decrease a patient’s compliance to treatment.
Click on the following link for alcohol related death rate of each country in the world:
What’s the Limit for Alcohol Consumption?
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, one must drink alcohol in moderation, which means that women may take only one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. One drink could be 12 fl. oz (355ml) of beer, 5 fl. oz (148ml) of wine, or 1.5 fl. oz (44ml) of 80 proof distilled spirits.
When to Avoid
Even with moderate use of alcohol, experts warn that consumption of the substance is not free from risk. Furthermore, binge drinking (taking at least four to five drinks in a short period) could lead to major health problems as well as increase your risk for injuries and accidents. It can also be especially dangerous to take alcohol if you are:
- taking medications that could interact with it
- planning to operate heavy machinery or drive your vehicle
- diagnosed to have liver disease, pancreatic disease or stroke
How to Reduce the Harmful Effects of Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption is a global problem that affects the health and safety of individuals as well as the socioeconomic aspect of society. Because of these, many countries have taken steps to enforce policies that aim to reduce alcohol abuse. These strategies, based on scientific knowledge, include:
- marketing regulations for alcoholic beverages, especially in younger people
- controlling alcohol availability
- enforcing policies on drink-driving
- reducing use through pricing and taxation mechanisms
- increasing awareness for policies on alcohol use
- providing treatment for alcohol-related disorders
- implementing screening programs and providing interventions for harmful alcohol use
- increasing leadership and commitment against alcohol abuse
- monitoring and keeping close watch on policies and interventions
In line with these, the World Health Organization (WHO) urges countries to take part in a global strategy that aims to reduce the impact of alcohol-related problems. The organization has developed the Global Information System on Alcohol and Health, which looks into the various patterns and levels of alcohol consumption, its health as well as social consequences, and responses to their policies. Cooperation from these countries will lead to the reduction of alcohol-related death and the negative social consequences brought by alcohol use.