New alcohol advice issued

shutterstock_243234757UK figures show alcohol-related deaths are rising. In 2014 8.697 deaths were registered in the UK – 14,3 per 100.000 people of the population. On January 8th the Chief Medical Officers of the UK have published new guidelines for alcohol consumption in order to limit related health risks. What’s new since the previous guidelines came out in 1995? Learn more about the new advises on regular drinking, single drinking sessions and drinking in pregnancy. Are you a medical student or physician? Read on.

The NHS’ article lists the new advises on alcohol consumption. In order to keep health risks from alcohol low, both men and women should not drink more than 14 units per week on regular basis. This is the equivalent of one and a half bottle of wine or five pints. It should be clear that risk from alcohol increase with any amount you drink. The risks of death through long-term illness and through accidents increase with one or two heavy drinking sessions.

The new rules also give advice about how one can reduce the risks of single drinking sessions. In order to reduce risks one should: limit the amount of alcohol in any occasion, drink slowly, drink with food, alternate alcoholic drinks with water, avoid risky places and being alone and ensure that you will be able to get home safely.

Furthermore, new guidelines clarify that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can possibly lead to long-term harm of the baby in a dose-dependent manner. However, in most cases the baby is not affected.

The article concludes by stating four points, which are expected to be important by the expert group of the UK Chief Medical Officers.

  • The benefits of alcohol for heart health are not as strong as previously thought and only apply for women aged 55 and over.
  • A “safe” level of drinking does not exist. Alcohol consumption carries some risk. There is only a “low risk” level of drinking.
  • The previous guideline did not address the short-term risks of drinking.
  • It is safest to avoid drinking in pregnancy and this should be made clear to the public.

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