Key alcohol health facts

Alcohol can have a serious effect on our bodies, as these alcohol health facts show. Read on to get the health facts on how alcohol can contribute to cancer, diabetes and liver disease, as well as links to further information.

 


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360 people died from accidental alcohol poisoning in England in 2011 (1)

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Drinking a lot in a short space of time can cause alcohol poisoning, as your body is only able to process one unit of alcohol per hour. The condition can be lethal, and often the traditional ways of trying to sober someone up do more harm than good. Read on for tips on spotting the signs of alcohol poisoning


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Alcohol causes around 4% of cancer cases in the UK every year – that’s around 12,500 cases (2)

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While, of course, not everyone who drinks will get cancer, scientists have found that it’s more common in people who drink alcohol than people who don’t. We’ve broken down the risks and health facts for you in Alcohol and Cancer.


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Heavy drinking can reduce the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which can trigger type 2 diabetes (3)

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Diabetes is a common, long-term condition which affects your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. Though it is manageable with proper treatment, it can often go undiagnosed. For common symptoms and further diabetes health facts, see Alcohol and Diabetes


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More than 1 in 10 of deaths of people in their 40s are from liver disease, most of them from alcoholic liver disease (4)

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Regular heavy drinking can severely damage your liver, and unfortunately, sufferers of alcoholic liver disease are getting younger. There are two main ways in which alcohol affects the liver – our page on alcohol and liver disease will tell you more.


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About one in six women may develop a health problem caused by alcohol (5)

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Women’s bodies process alcohol at a slower rate than men’s, and as such they can be more susceptible to long-term health problems caused by drinking. If you’re concerned about the effects of alcohol on your health, appearance and fertility, read more health facts on alcohol and women.


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British men are twice as likely as women to abuse or become dependent on alcohol (6)

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While it’s true that men are physically able to drink more than women, regularly drinking over the lower risk guidelines puts men at just as much risk of developing health problems. There’s detrimental effects to your appearance to consider as well – such as withering of the testicles. Read on for a full examination of how alcohol affects men.


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Foetal exposure to alcohol is the leading known cause of intellectual disability in children and adults (7)

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Drinking during pregnancy is directly linked to foetal alcohol syndrome, a condition that affects the way a baby’s brain develops. If you’re pregnant, or thinking about trying for a baby, it’s important to understand the risks of drinking during pregnancy and foetal alcohol syndrome


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Around seven out of 10 cases of chronic pancreatitis are due to long-term heavy drinking (8)

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The pancreas is essential for helping your body to digest food, and regular heavy drinking can cause it to become inflamed, and stop working. Chronic pancreatitis can be irreversible, and puts you at risk of developing cancer or diabetes. Find out more health facts on heavy drinking and pancreatitis

References

Page updated: November 2020