When it comes to living longer, your lifestyle plays a huge part in it. Your diet, sleeping habits and even how well you manage stress, all affect your life expectancy. Now, a new study has found one unhealthy habit that could reduce your life expectancy by 28 years. What makes this habit so dangerous is that you might not even be aware that you’re doing it.
Alcohol Use Disorder
The Mayo Clinic defines alcohol use disorder (AUD) as a “pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.”
Researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute analyzed the drinking (or non-drinking) behaviors of more than a million people across three European nations (Denmark, Finland, Sweden). They found that those who have been previously hospitalized for alcohol use disorder have on average a life expectancy that ranged between 47 and 53 years of age for men and 50 to 58 years for women.
“Life expectancy was 24 to 28 years shorter in people with alcohol use disorder than in the general population,” the researchers concluded.
According to the study published in the journal Acta Psychiatra Scandinavica, those who suffer from alcohol use disorder had a higher mortality from “all causes of death” than the rest of the population, and those causes of death include “all diseases and medical conditions and suicide.”
Moderate Daily Drinkers Aren’t Safe Either
This isn’t the first study to demonstrate the detrimental effects of drinking alcohol. In another study published in the European Heart Journal, researchers found that moderate drinkers could be putting their health at greater risk.
The study analyzed the drinking habits and heart health of more than 107,000 Europeans between the ages of 24 and 97 starting in the year 1982.
The results showed that those who drink just one “small” alcoholic drink per day significantly raised their risk of developing a heart condition called atrial fibrillation, which causes irregular heartbeat. This condition is not only linked to dizziness and heart palpitations but it also increases your risk of stroke.
In the study, a “small” drink was defined as 330 milliliters of beer (less than your typical 12-ounce can), 120 milliliters of wine (roughly eight tablespoons), and 40 milliliters of spirits (2.7 tablespoons).
How to Know If You Have an Alcohol Use Disorder?
Alcohol use disorder isn’t something people notice about themselves early on. It’s usually brought to your attention by a loved one or friend in your entourage.
If you think you may have a drinking problem, try to stop drinking completely for a month. If you can’t go through with it, then maybe it’s a problem. You should also try asking people around you for their opinions. If they say they’re concerned or distressed, then it’s a serious problem. After all, partaking in alcohol every day can increase your risk of heart disease, infertility, osteoporosis, and liver damage.
If you think you may be suffering from alcohol use disorder, do not hesitate to seek out professional help. The sooner you get treatment, the longer you’ll live.