What are the hidden risks of drinking with friends?

If you think only alcoholics put their health at risk, think again.

Many people who say they drink “socially” (when with friends, in company, on occasions) are at risk of developing long-term health problems because, although not addicted, regular drink significant amounts of alcohol.

Almost all people are careless in this regard and massively drink much more than the amounts recommended by health professionals.

This can cause a wide range of health problems, including cancer, stroke and heart attack. More than 55% of people believe that drinking alcohol is dangerous and can harm health only for alcoholics.

A 2010 survey of 2,000 people found that 83% of people believed that regularly drinking more than the recommended amount would not put their health at risk. In the UK alone, over 9 million people regularly drink above the recommended limit.

Around 15,000 people in England die each year from alcohol-related diseases. About 32% of these deaths were related to liver disease, 21% to cancer and 17% to cardiovascular disease.

Traditionally, alcohol-related diseases and resulting deaths affect more mature and elderly people who have consumed alcohol above the recommended daily allowance over a long period of time.

Professor Nigel Heatham, a consultant in liver transplants at King’s College Hospital in London, says that people who believe that drinking above recommended levels is normal and a form of social drinking are actually significantly increasing their risk of disease.

There are many people who think it is normal to drink a bottle of wine in the evening – he says. It seems completely normal to them because they drink alcohol together with food and this behavior is not associated with alcoholism.

However, if this is done regularly, it can also lead to problems. The big misconception is that people widely believe that alcohol-related liver disease is associated with alcoholics.

People say, “I’m not an alcoholic, so I can’t get liver disease.” Professor Heaton says: ‘You may not be an alcoholic, but if you regularly consume large amounts of alcohol above the recommended levels, it can still be very dangerous.

Reducing the amount of alcohol you consume will help minimize the risk of problems in the future. If you suspect you are consuming more than healthy limits, look for information on how to reduce the amount within reasonable limits. These days you can keep track of your BAC even on your mobile phone. There are apps that calculate the units of alcohol in your drinks and will help you know if you need to cut back on your drinking. Since drinks come in a variety of shapes, sizes and cocktails, it can actually be difficult to keep track of the exact amount of alcohol. Using such a calculator, you will be sure that you are doing the best for your health. Studies show that many people do not realize how much alcohol they consume in a day, week or month. If you are one of those people, know that there are many ways to cut down on your drinking.

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