Urgent action needed to tackle global rise in deaths caused by drinking - WHF | Daily News

Urgent action needed to tackle global rise in deaths caused by drinking - WHF

The World Heart Federation (WHF) has said that any level of drinking can lead to loss of healthy life, as it sought to dispel the idea that a daily glass of wine may be good for you.

In a new policy briefing, the organisation said it wanted to “challenge the widespread notion” that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol can decrease the risk of heart disease and called for urgent action to tackle the global rise in deaths caused by drinking.

The portrayal of alcohol as necessary for a vibrant social life has diverted attention from the harms of alcohol use, as have the frequent and widely publicised claims that moderate drinking, such as a glass of red wine a day, can offer protection against cardiovascular disease.

“These claims are at best misinformed and at worst an attempt by the alcohol industry to mislead the public about the danger of their product.”

It comes after the Royal College of Psychiatrists warned earlier this week that millions of Britons are causing themselves “silent harm” through hazardous drinking.

According to the new briefing from the WHF, more than 2.4 million people died worldwide because of alcohol in 2019.

This is equivalent to 4.3 per cent of all deaths globally and 12.6 per cent of deaths in men aged 15 to 49, it said.

The federation, which is working with the World Health Organization (WHO), said alcohol is a “psychoactive and harmful substance that can cause significant damage to the human body”.

It said that drinking increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, digestive diseases and injury. “The evidence is clear: any level of alcohol consumption can lead to loss of healthy life,” it said.

“Studies have shown that even small amounts of alcohol can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary disease, stroke, heart failure, hypertensive heart disease, cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease), atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), and aneurysm.

“Studies that claim otherwise are based on purely observational research, which fails to account for other factors, such as pre-existing conditions and a history of alcoholism in those considered to be ‘abstinent’.

“To date, no reliable correlation has been found between moderate alcohol consumption and a lower risk of heart disease.”

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