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The effects of modest drinking on life expectancy and mortality risks: a population-based cohort study Scientific Reports


Moderate drinking, typically defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men, appears to have a less severe impact on life expectancy compared to heavy alcohol use. However, it’s crucial to understand that even moderate drinking has risks. This study showed that people with AUD had a four-fold greater risk of premature death than people in the general population, and people with AUD died on average 24–28 years earlier than people in the general population. Previous studies showed the mortality risk to be two- to six-fold greater in people with AUD (4, 22).

  • 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.
  • Continuing on with animals and alcohol life expectancy, several studies have also shown mice live longer with a little bit of alcohol compared to none at all.
  • A small percentage of adults who drink account for half of the 35 billion total drinks consumed by US adults each year.

The study was register-based and lacked clinical data about the type of treatment and adherence. In all three countries, mortality rate ratios in people with AUD were higher in young age groups. In Denmark, mortality rate ratios increased during the entire study in men and women for most age groups, especially ages 30–59 years (Table ​(Table3).3). In Finland, mortality rate ratios increased during the entire study period in men and women aged 30–44 years. In Sweden, mortality rate ratios increased during the entire study period in men aged 30–74 years and women aged 45–74 years (Table ​(Table33). Another study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), looked at data from almost 600,000 people in 19 European countries and found similar results.

What’s your take on alcohol and aging?

Debates rage as to whether the US should lower its age to that of other nations. Doctors may also recommend weight loss and quitting smoking as excess weight and smoking have both demonstrated a role in worsening alcoholic liver disease. Having hepatitis C increases the risk, and a person who consumes alcohol regularly and has had any type of hepatitis how long do alcoholics live faces a higher chance of developing liver disease. Once the alcoholic liver disease progresses, its symptoms become easier to recognize. Cirrhosis occurs when the liver has been inflamed for a long time, leading to scarring and loss of function. Cirrhosis damage is irreversible, but a person can prevent further damage by continuing to avoid alcohol.

Individuals who stop drinking may live slightly longer than those who don’t stop. In Denmark, the number of men and women hospitalized because of AUD was similar for the 5-year periods from 1987 to 2001 but increased for 2002 to 2006 (Table ​(Table1).1). In Finland, the number of men and women with AUD increased from 1987 to 2001 and remained unchanged for 2002 to 2006. In Sweden, the number of men with AUD decreased and the number of women with AUD increased from 1987 to 2006 (Table ​(Table11). The reliable nationwide health care registers in Denmark, Finland and Sweden provide a unique opportunity to study mortality in people diagnosed with AUD.

Life expectancy and mortality

During end-stage alcoholism, a person may struggle with involuntary rapid eye movement (nystagmus) or weakness and paralysis of the eye muscles due to thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency. Based on the amount of signs you encounter, alcohol use disorder can be mild, moderate or extreme. Drinking four beverages within two hours is called binge drinking for females. Binge drinking – a trend whereby a male consumes five or six beverages within two hours – is often found with unhealthy alcohol usage. This life expectancy raises marginally to 83 years of age for women in the UK. If you’re going to drink alcohol, then there’s a big difference between a glass of wine and a bottle of sweet flavored vodka.