Epilepsy, brain and nerve damage, cancer, liver failure – all linked to excessive drinking

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland is warning of the risks of binge drinking and excessive alcohol consumption.

The health promotion group is highlighting the burden that excessive alcohol consumption places on the healthcare system and wider society – with an estimated 1,000 deaths attributed to alcohol each year in Ireland.

The harmful use of alcohol ranks among the top five risk factors for disease, disability and death throughout the world.

President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland Professor Frank Murray, explains the most common effects of excessive alcohol consumption.

“Cancer – which most people don’t recognise as being associated with alcohol – and cirrhosis and liver failure. They’re the two biggest groups,” he said.

“But there are other groups – epilepsy, brain and nerve damage, heart damage and various other things.

“In parallel with the huge increase in alcohol consumption over the last 40 or 50 years, there has been a huge increase in the death rate from liver failure, which has at least doubled.”

What are the low-risk drinking guidelines in Ireland?*

Low risk weekly guidelines for adults are:

– Up to 11 standard drinks in a week for women, and

– Up to 17 standard drinks in a week for men.

What is a standard drink in Ireland?

The standard drink in Ireland is 10 grams of pure alcohol. Below are some examples of a standard drink:

– A pub measure of spirits (35.5ml)

– A half pint of normal beer

– An alcopop (275ml bottle)

– A small glass of wine (12.5% volume)

A bottle of wine at 12.5% alcohol contains about seven standard drinks.

*Source: The Health Research Board

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