Despite the harms of alcohol, there are a lot of studies that support its protective effects on health. A recent study has shed more light on this topic.
The authors of this study have particularly aimed at the methodology used in previous studies. The findings of this recent research are present in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
A New Approach
The researchers have argued on the methods used in previous studies in order to check the effects of alcohol on participants, considering that it is potentially flawed. They particularly noted how most of these studies were observational and usually included people over 50 years of age.
The authors have argued that it is problematic since it may have excluded those who died due to alcohol before 50 years saying that deceased persons couldn’t be enrolled in cohort studies.
The experts said that those above 50 years who are established drinkers are actually the survivors who would have been in a healthier state of health provided they followed safer drinking patterns.
As per the authors, almost 40 percent of these deaths due to consumption of alcohol occur long before people hit 50 years. This means that most of the research going into the risks of using alcohol does not take these deaths into account, underestimating the real dangers.
For reinvestigating, the authors recruited their data from the Alcohol-related Disease Impact Application by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As per the CDC, this application can provide national estimates of health impacts related to alcohol, including the deaths and the years of life lost.
Differences in Age
The analysis has revealed that the level of risk in an individual is heavily affected by age. In total, 35.8 percent of the deaths related to alcohol occurs in people between the ages of 20 to 49 years. When the researchers looked at the deaths prevented by alcohol consumption, only 4.5 percent of the people were in this age group.
Looking at the people over the age of 65, the story was totally different. A total of 35 percent of these deaths occurred in this group, however, the authors found that more than 80 percent of the deaths were prevented by alcohol in this specific group.
The researchers also pointed out differences between the age groups while observing the number of years lost to alcohol.
They also showed that almost 58.4 percent of the years lost were in people between 20 to 49 years of age. However, in this age group, only 14.5 percent of the years were saved by alcohol.
Conversely, the group over 65 years accounted for 15 percent of all the years of life lost. However, 50 percent of these years of life were also saved.
The authors have concluded that younger people are at a higher risk of dying from alcohol as compared to the risk of dying from a lack of drinking. However, older people are more likely to get benefits from moderate drinking.
The conclusions were not really explosive but they do tell about the understanding of alcohol’s impact on the health. While moderate drinking may be beneficial for people of a certain age group, heavy drinking may be harmful to most of them.