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Excessive alcohol consumption, linked to 200 diseases

Excessive alcohol consumption is related to more than 200 diseases and up to 10% of patients admitted to internal medicine services have a high consumption of this substance, according to the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine (SEMI)

Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to more than 200 diseases


EFE/ María Garrido Sellabona

On the occasion of World Alcohol Free Day (November 15), SEMI doctors reiterate that “no alcohol consumption can be considered safe” and that “zero risk in alcohol does not exist”.

According to this medical society, they existed in Spain 44 units of detoxification hospital in 2020.

The doctor Daniel Fuster Martí, member of the Addictions Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital in Barcelona explains: “Detoxification is the medically supervised process in which the patient stops consuming the substance that produces the use disorder”.

“In this process – he continues – the possible problems that may occur during the withdrawal syndrome are mitigated, it can be used to assess the presence of medical comorbidity and treatment can be induced to prevent relapse into consumption.”

Negative health effects

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to serious health problems, as well as the presence of addictions. Specifically, it is associated with more than 200 diseases.

“It is a risk factor for the development of multiple pathologies such as liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, osteoporosis, arterial hypertension, heart failure, stroke, dementia and neoplasms, among others”, points out the doctor Candelaria Martín of the Internal Medicine Service of the University Hospital of the Canary Islands.

He also adds that the 12% of all cancers are directly related to alcohol consumption, and if there is also consumption of tobaccothe risk of developing neoplasms multiplies between 10 and 100 times.

Main reasons for entry

Regarding the main reasons why patients with alcohol or other drug use disorder need to be admitted to hospital, the following stand out: intoxications or overdose, acute withdrawaland associated medical complications, such as soft tissue infection, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, acute alcoholic hepatitisamong others.

“It is a problem with a predominance of the male sex in a ratio of between 3-4 men for every woman”, explains the Doctor Carpenter

The profile has been changing Now it is that of a man of about 50 years with a higher prevalence of liver problems associated with the use of alcohol, cardiovascular health problems and comorbidities typical of older people (cognitive deterioration, cancer…).

On the other hand, in the case of elderly people it is known that alcohol consumption can cause interactions with multiple drugs, an increased risk of falls and an increased risk of cardiovascular events, among other complications that are usually present in people over 80 years old.

Psychoactive substances most consumed daily

Young people consume alcohol
EFE/ Biel Dressing

The last survey of National Drug Plan (data from 2019-2020 published in 2021) reflects that the psychoactive substances most consumed by the general population on a daily basis are the tobacco (32.3%), the alcohol (8.8%) and the cannabis (2.9%).

However, if we talk about the percentage of the population that has consumed some psychoactive substance in the last year, the first place is for alcohol (77.2%).

The SEE calls for labeling with warnings

Following this, the Spanish Society of Epidemiology (SEE) has launched a campaign composed of three videos to raise public awareness of the health risks of alcohol consumption and the influence of alcohol advertising among young people.

The SEE demands that companies that produce alcoholic beverages begin to be forced to place labels with the nutritional information of its products and warnings about the damage caused by alcohol consumption.

According to the SEE, a glass of wine or a pint of beer contains about 120 calories, or up to 450 calories if we are talking about high-grade drinks, without providing any nutrients of value to the body, since they are “calories empty”.

Young people, the group that consumes the most alcohol

The 70% of teenagers between 14 and 17 years old drank alcohol during the last damage, and one in three got drunk in the last month, the SEE indicates.

Consumption is closely related to exposure to advertising, as there is a large amount of messages that encourage alcohol consumption (terraces, bars, social networks…).

The campaign promoted by this medical society proposes to carry out a regulation of advertising in these media, since less advertising promotion of alcoholic beverage brands is associated with lower consumption.

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