A new study says alcohol-related deaths have doubled in the past 18 years — and the toll for women is worse.
Additionally, the death rate may be under reported, according to researchers. The reason is that death certificates typically fail to include the role alcohol plays in loss of life.
Researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reviewed death certificate data from 1999 to 2017, CNN reported. They found alcohol-related deaths increased by 50.9% from 35,914 deaths in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017. In that time period, nearly 1 million Americans died.
Among the deaths, nearly half were attributed to liver disease, an overdose from alcohol or alcohol mixed with other drugs.
Although men died at a higher rate than women, it was women — particularly white women — who had the largest increase in annual deaths. NBC News reported that women’s bodies tend to be more susceptible to alcohol's effects.
"Women are at greater risk than men at comparable levels of alcohol exposure for alcohol-related cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, alcohol-related liver disease and acute liver failure due to excessive drinking," wrote study’s authors. "Because women reach higher blood alcohol levels than men of comparable weights after consuming the same amount of alcohol, their body tissues are exposed to more alcohol and acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolite of alcohol, after each drink."
The report also showed the cause of alcohol-related death among teenagers involved acute alcohol consumption. The rate of such deaths among men remained even over time, but it increased for women.
Aside from worse effects in women, increased death rates were found for people between the ages of 55 and 64. Non-Hispanic Native Americans and Alaskans also had higher rates of death, CNN reported.
The findings were published Wednesday in the journal, “Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.”
Other recent studies have also pointed out the adverse effects of drinking on people’s bodies.
A newly published study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found binge drinking may be linked to heart damage. Researchers reviewing data from Russian adults found increased blood biomarkers that denote heart tissue damage associated with drinking.
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