Mild to moderate alcohol consumption may have some potential health benefits. But excessive drinking—even binge drinking—carries serious health risks. If you're in good shape, drinking in moderation makes you 25-40% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or hardening of your arteries. This may be partly because small amounts of alcohol can raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
Excessive alcohol consumption, on the other hand, increases the risk of heart disease. The main psychoactive ingredient in alcoholic beverages is ethanol. Generally known as “alcohol”, ethanol is the substance that causes you to drink. Alcohol is a psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties that has been widely used in many cultures for centuries.
Harmful use of alcohol causes a high burden of disease and has important social and economic consequences. Immune system: This is what fights germs, viruses and other diseases in the body. Alcohol slows down the immune system, making white blood cells that fight bacteria slower and much less efficient. Heavy drinkers may be more likely to succumb to diseases such as tuberculosis or pneumonia, and increase the risk of developing numerous forms of cancer.
The two-sided nature of alcohol shouldn't surprise us. The active ingredient in alcoholic beverages, a simple molecule called ethanol, affects the body in many different ways. Directly affects the stomach, brain, heart, gallbladder and liver. It affects blood levels of lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and insulin, as well as inflammation and clotting.
It also alters mood, concentration and coordination. Alcohol is a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties. In many of today's societies, alcoholic beverages are a routine part of the social landscape for many members of the population. This is particularly true for those in social environments with high visibility and social influence, nationally and internationally, where alcohol often accompanies socialization.
In this context, it is easy to ignore or rule out the harm to health and society caused or contributed by alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year worldwide, as well as to the disabilities and ill health of millions of people. In general, harmful alcohol consumption is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease. Harmful alcohol consumption accounts for 7.1% and 2.2% of the global burden of disease for men and women, respectively.
Alcohol is the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among people aged 15 to 49, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in this age group. Disadvantaged and especially vulnerable populations have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations. Alcohol as an intoxicant affects a wide range of structures and processes in the central nervous system and increases the risk of intentional and unintentional injury and adverse social consequences. Alcohol has considerable toxic effects on the digestive and cardiovascular systems.
Alcoholic beverages are classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and increase the risk of several types of cancer. Alcohol as an immunosuppressant increases the risk of communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV. Both the volume of alcohol consumption throughout life and a combination of context, frequency of alcohol consumption and amount consumed per occasion increase the risk of a wide range of social and health harms. Risks increase greatly in a dose-dependent manner with the volume of alcohol consumed and with the frequency of consumption, and exponentially with the amount consumed on a single occasion.
Illegally produced and substitute alcohols can carry an additional health risk due to toxic contaminants. Because any alcohol consumption is associated with some short- and long-term health risks, it is very difficult to define universally applicable population thresholds for low-risk alcohol consumption. WHO has identified that the most cost-effective measures to reduce the harmful use of alcohol include increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages, applying restrictions on exposure to alcohol advertising, and restrictions on the physical availability of retail alcohol. In addition, enforcing countermeasures for driving under the influence of alcohol and ensuring access to screening, brief interventions and treatment are effective and ethically sound interventions.
The most cost-effective interventions are at the heart of the WHO-led SAFER initiative, which aims to support Member States in reducing the harmful use of alcohol. The work of WHO pays special attention to reducing harm to people who do not drink and to populations at particular risk from the harmful use of alcohol, such as children, adolescents, women of childbearing age, pregnant and breastfeeding women, indigenous peoples and other minority groups or groups with low socioeconomic status. WHO highlights glaring gaps in regulating alcohol marketing across borders New initiative to mentor scientific research and writing towards diversity in research on alcohol control policies WHO will accelerate measures to reduce harmful use of alcohol The WHO Secretariat to report on the implementation of the WHO global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol This brief document summarizes the key content of the WHO report Reducing the harm of alcohol by regulating the marketing, advertising and. This comprehensive report details the full scope of how alcohol is marketed across national borders, often through digital means,.
While alcohol adversely affects several health outcomes, awareness of the health risks of drinking alcohol remains relatively low. Combating the harmful effects of alcohol at the local level in the city of Tarumã, Brazil. . .