Alcoholism Mortality Rates and Risks of Death
Can Alcohol Kill You?
Many deaths from alcohol result from injuries such as traffic accidents, violence, and falls. Heavy alcohol abuse can lead to heart disease and cancer, but liver disease is the most frequent health problem seen in alcoholics. Symptoms include abdominal pain, yellow skin and eyes, and weight loss.
Many people assume that alcohol is safe to drink, even at very high levels, because it’s legal. Unfortunately, the legality of alcohol has nothing to do with its safety. In fact, drinking very high levels of alcohol over a long period of time, which is the pattern of drinking followed by most people who struggle with alcoholism, can bring about a host of serious medical problems. Sometimes, alcoholism can even result in death.
Accidents and Injuries
Alcohol can dull the mind and slow the senses, causing people to trip, stumble and fall. If these unfortunate drinkers slip behind the wheel of a car or truck, their slowed reaction times can result in tragedy, as they could hit pedestrians, cyclists, other cars or even buildings.
According to statistics released by the World Health Organization, more than 40 percent of deaths that are attributed to alcohol come about due to injuries caused by intoxication. These injuries include:
- Traffic accidents (11.9 percent)
- Violence (8.8 percent)
- Drowning (2.7 percent)
- Falls (2.1 percent)
Anyone who drinks alcohol could become injured or even die due to an alcohol-related accident. However, since people who are alcoholics might be intoxicated more than people who aren’t alcoholics, their risk of injuries and death due to alcohol might be slightly higher than average.
Can Friends Help?
In 2011, Finnish researchers found that men living alone were 4.9 times as likely to die of liver disease, when compared to men who were married or who were cohabitating. This study seems to suggest that people who live with others are able to modify their drinking habits, and perhaps drink just a little less as a result. While living with an alcoholic is never easy, continuing to discuss the use and abuse of alcohol, and continuing to encourage the person to get help, might help to save that person’s life.
Alcohol and Diseases
Alcohol is toxic to a variety of important tissues in the body, and as a result, people who drink large amounts of alcohol can develop a series of very significant health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Of all of the health problems alcohol can cause, liver disease seems to be the most common, claiming 15,183 lives in 2009 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Not everyone who drinks heavily develops health issues. In fact, some health problems seem to be related to genetics, as well as the person’s diet and other health habits. However, it’s clear that drinking alcohol is far from safe, and those who continue to harbor an addiction issue could be playing a dangerous game with their long-term health. Please call us if you, or if someone you love, needs help in order to leave alcohol behind. We can help you find a program that’s just right.
Could It Happen to You?
Symptoms of liver disease tend to vary depending on the amount of damage the liver has sustained, but in general, the discomfort is generally worse after a night of heavy drinking, and might include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Intense thirst
- Weight loss
An exam at the doctor’s office, including a blood test and a liver function test, can help to diagnose liver disease. If it’s found, you simply must stop drinking completely.