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Alcohol and Your Long-Term Health

Alcohol consumption can have long term impacts on an individual’s health. Nearly 1 in 13 Western Australians drink every day, and nearly 1 in 4 drink at levels that place them at risk of alcohol-related harm and ill-health in their lifetime. 1

Alcohol-related disease and ill-health is often associated with what is commonly referred to as ‘heavy drinking’, but anyone that regularly drinks more than 2 standard drinks per day is at higher risk of longer term health conditions.

Regular drinking can cause long term damage to the body. People can report some of the harms that happens as a result of one-off drinking occasions (road crashes, pedestrian injury, assaults, burns, poisonings, falls, drownings, and workplace injuries). However, there’s also a lot of harm and ill-health caused by our normal day-to-day drinking over time.

There are a significant number of alcohol-related diseases and health problems caused by alcohol consumption in Australia, including:

In 2011, State residents were hospitalised a total of 18,538 times for conditions caused by alcohol. This resulted in a total of 84,533 bed days that cost more than $116 million. 2

297 people per week are hospitalised for alcohol-related admissions. 2

10.3 people per week die from alcohol-related conditions. 3

The World Health Organisation and other key groups now recommend that people should not commence or maintain drinking to achieve health benefits and that there is no merit in promoting alcohol consumption as a preventative strategy for cardiovascular disease.

The National Heart Foundation (Australia) has also formed the position that alcohol consumption not be promoted for the prevention or treatment of heart disease.

To remain at low risk of alcohol-related diseases and health problems, health experts recommend having no more than two standard drinks on any day.

 
References

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011.2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Drug statistics series no. 25.Cat. no.PHE 145.Canberra: AIHW.

2 Overview of drug-related hospitalisations due to alcohol among residents of the State. Epidemiology Branch (PHI) in collaboration with the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC-SI). Generated using data from the WA Hospital Morbidity Data Collection. Proportion of drug and alcohol related deaths identified by aetiological fractions. Accessed Wednesday, 30 April 2014 by Russell Bridle (Drug and Alcohol Office).

3 Overview of drug-related deaths due to alcohol among residents of the State. Epidemiology Branch (PHI) in collaboration with the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRC-SI). Generated using data from the WA Death Registrations which includes data from the WA Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths and Australian Bureau of Statistics. Proportion of drug and alcohol related deaths identified by aetiological fractions. Accessed Wednesday, 30 April 2014 by Russell Bridle (Drug and Alcohol Office).