Human nature can be funny. Tell someone a benefit of doing something and if they’ve ever heard any obscure information opposed to doing that, they’ll let you know. What is even funnier is that people who enjoy doing an activity will often tell you why they shouldn’t be doing it based on the same obscure information that they don’t even know to be true.
That’s why I decided it was important to set the record straight on alcoholic liver disease. This lifestyle magazine has published many articles on the benefits of regular, consistent use of alcohol. However, when we do, we get comments and tweets that say… But I’m killing my liver, or what about cirrhosis?
Before I give you the hard facts, ask yourself: Who do you know that died from Alcoholic Cirrhosis? With all the scaremongers and liver jokes, you might be surprised to learn that Alcoholic Cirrhosis is not even a leading cause of death in the United States. Only .62% of all deaths in 2009 were attributed to Alcoholic liver disease according to the Deaths and Mortality Report published Jan 27, 2012, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The mental & physical benefits and enjoyment of daily alcohol use is well documented. In fact, it is a safeguard against many of the diseases that are leading causes of death in the USA. First, look at this list of the number of deaths for leading causes of death in 2009:
1. Heart disease: 599,413
2. Cancer: 567,628
3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
4. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
5. Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021 (motor vehicle accidents: 36,216)
6. Alzheimer’s disease: 79,003
7. Diabetes: 68,705
8. Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
10. Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909
Alcoholic liver disease (Cirrhosis): 15,183 (.62% of all deaths in 2009)
Research has proven, and reports have been published in respected medical journals, that Alcohol can reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke, and reduce the chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease and Diabetes. Furthermore, the mental/emotional benefits of having a drink may reduce the number of suicides, too.
Therefore, it’s one of those things that you have to weight the pro versus con. Would rather have this big stack of benefits or avoid this little speck of risk? Deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents totaled 36,216 in 2009, more that twice the number attributed to alcoholic liver disease. Will you quit riding in cars?
Of course, all risks increase with greater exposure; therefore, always drink in moderation. Moderation is described as 1-3 drinks per day for men, and 1-2 drinks per day for women.
Let’s drink to our health and well-being!