Alcohol-related mortality by age and sex and its impact on life expectancy European Journal of Public Health

Alcohol-related mortality by age and sex and its impact on life expectancy European Journal of Public Health

Part of the reason that alcoholism is more deadly for women has to do with their metabolism. Women, with slower metabolisms, are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. A woman can consume fewer alcoholic beverages and still experience the ill effects comparable to a man who drinks more.

While drinking can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, it does increase other health risks. In the following chart, mortality rates for non-drinkers serve as the baseline health risk (1.0 on the vertical axis). The risk for coronary heart disease even for heavy drinkers remains below the baseline; but risk of death from other causes goes up. The risk of death from liver disease skyrockets off the chart after only a couple of drinks a day. The exact figures on the life expectancy of an alcoholic vary and are hard to determine. One study found that people drinking more than 25 drinks a week have a shorter life expectancy by four to five years. Another study in Scandinavia concluded that people hospitalized for an alcohol use disorder had a lifespan that was 24 to 28 years fewer than the general population.


In all three countries, mortality rate ratios in people with AUD were higher in young age groups. In Denmark, mortality rate What Is the Life Expectancy of an Alcoholic ratios increased during the entire study in men and women for most age groups, especially ages 30–59 years (Table ​ .

  • The pancreas is an organ that helps the body with digestion of food and the regulation of blood sugar.
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  • In Sweden, mortality rate ratios increased during the entire study period in men aged 30–74 years and women aged 45–74 years (Table ​ .
  • The number of alcohol-attributable deaths among adults aged ≥65 years was nearly double that among adults aged 20–34 years.

Long-term alcohol abuse can also decrease life expectancy due to a weakened immune system. Too much alcohol can make it harder for the immune system to fight infections and disease. For example, chronic drinkers are at a greater risk of contracting lung diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than moderate drinkers or people who don’t drink at all. Given the controversies surrounding light-to-moderate alcohol intake and mortality, we concentrated on this category in dose–response modelling.

Stages of Alcoholism: Early, Middle, & End-Stage Alcoholism

Drinking in excess could take up to five years off your life-expectancy. The Harvard scientists caution that heavy consumption of alcohol can lead to negative cardiovascular outcomes such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, and sudden cardiac death. Other doctors warn that even moderate drinking may raise the risks of colon and breast cancer, some types of stroke, fetal damage, driving accidents, abusive behavior, and criminal activities. Late-stage, or end-stage alcoholism, is a full-blown addiction to alcohol, often with damaging physical and mental health effects.

  • Other evidence suggests that after age 40, one or two drinks a day leads to a shorter life expectancy by an average of six months.
  • In fact, alcohol is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
  • Drinking too much can lead to health problems, dependency, and alcohol addiction.
  • Also, 248 (11.26%) of the 2,203 participants who drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol in the 12 months before the interview had also passed away by the 20-year mark.
  • However, in the long-term AUDs are known to aggravate these symptoms and may even contribute to the development of anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and depression in those who would not have experienced them otherwise.
  • Our study shows that the more alcohol a person drinks, the higher their risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and early death.

For a person who drinks occasionally, this adaptation is distinct and temporary. But for a person who drinks heavily, the body adapts the majority of the time.

Alcohol-Related Factors That Influence Lifespan

One study suggests that regularly having one drink a day actually decreases mortality by lowering a person’s risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, and stroke. Other evidence suggests that after age 40, one or two drinks a day leads to a shorter life expectancy by an average of six months. It may be time to lower the threshold of what is considered “moderate” drinking. It might be time to entertain the concept that no level of drinking has any benefit or contribution to one’s health and well-being whatsoever. Regular alcohol consumption increases the risks of liver cirrhosis, gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and some types of cancer.

  • A major limitation of the present study was the inclusion only of patients with alcohol use disorder from inpatient care, which may have caused selection bias of patients with the most severe health problems.
  • Although binge drinkers seemed to have a lower probability of reaching 90 than non-binge drinkers, especially in women, the multivariable-adjusted associations were non-significant.
  • Drinking in excess could take up to five years off your life-expectancy.
  • In Finland, mortality rate ratios increased during the entire study period in men and women aged 30–44 years.
  • Health conditions caused by end stage alcoholism can include fatigue, malnutrition, jaundice, heart failure, anemia, alcohol dementia, and cirrhosis.

Ryan began his career at Hemet Valley Medical Center in 2007 as a Public Safety Officer, helping to ensure hospital safety and security for 6 years. In 2013 Ryan transferred to the Surgery Department, initially assisting with patient transport, and then advancing to the role of Sterilization Tech. However, once the cirrhosis and its complications develop, which can include fluid accumulation in the abdomen and bleeding in the digestive tract, the prognosis is much worse. In fact, only about half of the individuals experiencing these complications will live for another five years after their diagnosis.

Binge Drinking Found to Be Linked with Dementia

Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in the short- and long-term. Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention. Being at a later stage can make recovery more challenging, but recovery is possible at any stage of alcoholism. There are no quick fixes to addiction, and alcoholism is no different. The safest course of action is to seek treatment in a professional environment that is catered to the individual needs, preferably with holistic treatment. In fact,recent researchby The Recovery Village has found heavy drinking can increase your risk of cancer by 48% by itself. The strong physiological needs of the body may make it difficult for an individual to resist drinking.

What Is the Life Expectancy of an Alcoholic

Germany provides highly specialized inpatient care and treatment for alcoholism. Yet receiving this treatment did not positively affect the recipient’s longevity. The study also showed no impact from a person’s experience of co-existing psychological conditions. Alcohol abuse appeared to be the strongest determiner on life expectancy. Those with alcohol dependency can expect to enjoy 20 fewer years of life than non-drinkers.

Even one drink a day linked to lower life expectancy

This has led to the commonly held belief that drinking in moderation can be good for the heart. As the Clinical Nurse Manager for Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat since 2013, Melinda’s nursing career began when she graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in 2003. Relocating to Hemet in 2006, Melinda took a position on the Telemetry Unit at Hemet Valley Medical Center, as well as a Per Diem position at Hemet Valley Recovery Center. Having a limited understanding of Substance Use Disorder, Melinda gained valuable experience caring for those seeking treatment for the abuse of alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, amphetamines, and the combinations of these and many more. She also developed an understanding of various detox protocols, and the ability to identify the withdrawal symptoms unique to each substance. She also supports a holistic philosophy through her understanding that recovery requires care for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of each patient. Assuming leadership responsibility in 2013 as the Clinical Nurse Manager, addiction treatment has become Melinda’s passion.

What Is the Life Expectancy of an Alcoholic

People with AUD have among the highest all-cause mortality of all people who receive treatment for mental disorders . A meta-analysis that included 81 observational studies from many countries showed that people with AUD have three-fold higher mortality in men and four-fold higher mortality in women than the general population .


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