A study of thousands of alcoholics found their death rate, from a host of different causes, was significantly higher than that of the population
A number of studies in the past few years have suggested health benefits from drinking small or moderate amounts of alcohol. This can encourage people to look at alcohol almost as if it's medicine. A recent study of alcohol use in Italy paints a much more sobering picture.
Following over 2,000 alcoholics in Tuscany for an average of 10 years, the study found they had a much higher death rate from a host of different causes, including cancer, than the general population.
Death rates from infections, diabetes, diseases of the immunological, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems, and violent causes all were elevated, as were death rates from many types of cancer. And while women in the study fared better than men, they still fared worse than the rest of the population.
It's hardly news that alcoholism is bad for the health. But few studies have examined these effects in such detail and in such a large population.
The study's take home message about alcohol: less is better. This message isn't just for alcoholics, it's for anyone who drinks. And it's especially important with holiday season approaching, when people tend to drink more than usual.