A large number of people in the UK regularly drink more than the recommended daily limits for alcohol, and this leads to health problems and, in some individuals, alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is a growing problem across the country, with more and more people struggling to cope with this awful illness.
It is an illness of the brain that tears families apart and causes serious other health issues if left untreated. Many experts have said that the recommended limits in the UK were too high, but it has now been announced that these limits have been changed.
In recent months, Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, has been working alongside a team of medical experts to review the guidelines, which had been in place since 1995.
Reduced Limit for Men
The previous limits recommended that men drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week while women were advised to drink no more than 14 units. This has now been revised to 14 units per week for both men and women. Nevertheless, it was also announced that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption when it comes to the risk of developing certain cancers. Dame Sally said that any amount of alcohol will raise the chances of developing cancer, but she pointed out that the new limits are low-risk alcohol limits.
In the past, many have been confused by the alcohol guidelines because they speak of units rather than amounts. The new guidelines continue to recommend the number of units one should drink, and these equate to no more than seven pints of average strength beer or lager, which has an alcohol content of around 4%. For those who like to drink wine, the new limits mean drinking no more than nine 125ml glasses with an alcohol content of around 12%.
There have been previous reports that a certain amount of alcohol per day offered health benefits, but new research has quashed this. While there may still be a small level of protection against heart disease, it only applies to women over the age of 55 who drink no more than five units per week.
It is now believed, though, that the risks far outweigh any benefits, with even low levels of alcohol consumption linked to diseases such as cancers of the mouth, lips, oesophagus, pharynx, and breast. Those drinking more than the guideline amounts could be risking bowel and liver cancer as well as other illnesses, including heart disease, liver disease, strokes, and brain damage.
The new guidelines also recommend having a number of alcohol-free days each week, and drinkers should not save up their fourteen units to be used in once session of binge drinking, as this will raise the risk of developing and dying from an alcohol-related illness, injury or accident.
Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption
It has long been known that drinking excessively carries an element of risk. As well as the risk of developing certain illnesses like liver disease, there was the added danger of developing addiction. Experts have known about the link between alcohol abuse and certain cancers for some time, but new research has shown there is an even greater link.
The problem has always been, and will no doubt remain, getting the public to understand the risks. Because alcohol consumption is widely accepted, many simply cannot get their head around the fact that by drinking even small amounts of alcohol they could be raising their risk of developing certain cancers. Many simply cannot, or will not, comprehend that drinking alcohol can cause cancer.
It is important, therefore, that more is done to educate the public in terms of sticking to the ‘low-risk’ guidelines now set out by the Government.