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posted: 7/14/2014 5:45 AM

Your health: Heavy drinking causes early deaths

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  • Excessive drinking contributed to one in 10 deaths of working-age adults, according to a recent study.

    Excessive drinking contributed to one in 10 deaths of working-age adults, according to a recent study.
    File photo


Heavy drinking causes early deaths

It's no secret that America's favorite legal drug has vast impacts on public health. But just how closely binge drinking and overconsumption of alcohol are linked to deaths may come as a surprise, The Washington Post reports.

One in 10 deaths of working-age adults every year is attributable to "excessive alcohol consumption," according to a report released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- a finding that keeps booze as "a leading cause of premature mortality nationwide."

The 88,000 deaths annually from 2006 to 2010 included acute causes, such as violence, alcohol poisoning and car crashes, as well as the health effects of prolonged overconsumption of alcohol, such as liver disease, heart disease and breast cancer. Excessive drinking shortened the lives of the people who died by about 30 years each. Seventy-one percent of those who died were men.

For their report, the researchers defined excessive consumption as a binge of five or more drinks per occasion for men or four or more for women; 15 or more drinks per week for men or eight for women; and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than 21.

Alcoholic liver disease topped the list of all alcohol-related deaths, causing 14,364 a year. Next were motor vehicle crashes (12,460), suicide (8,179) and homicide (7,756).

Stressed out in the summer?

Summer is supposed to be a carefree time of year, with long, sunny days and breezy, sit-on-the-front-porch evenings. Maybe not.

In an online article in Prevention magazine, Shannon Rosenberg reports on a survey in which one-third of Americans described themselves as under more stress during summer than at any other time of year.

SleepRate, a company with a smartphone app that offers help to the sleepless, did an online survey that found that nearly half of the respondents said summer social events kept them so busy that they lost sleep time. Many -- 69 percent -- said they often scheduled three social occasions a week in the summer, The Washington Post reported.

And of course parents have added burdens, with summer interrupting school and day-care schedules. Hot weather can also affect sleep, with 80 percent saying they sleep better in cool weather.

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