Health focus: Risks of regular heavy drinking

Pint of beer
Pint of beer

One in four people in Buckinghamshire regularly drink more than the recommended alcohol limit.

And the problem is worst amongst the 45-65 year old age group.

The figures are revealed in the county council’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment which highlights health issues in the county.

Susie Richardson is a public health practitioner for the council, specialising in alcohol issues. She said: “The report shows that Buckinghamshire is slightly better than the national average in terms of alcohol consumption and regular drinking above national guidelines.

“However, it does highlight that there are increasing alcohol admissions to hospital and they are not just talking about dependent drinking.”

Much of the increase is due to the result of long term above average drinking in the middle aged, often linked to managerial workers who use it over many years to de-stress at the end of the day.

To help address the problem the county council is leading on a partnership project with the district councils, police and ambulance for Alcohol Awareness Week during November 18-24.

Miss Richardson said: “We are piggy backing a national campaign and targeting the 45-65-year-old group who are the ones who drink the highest weekly average of alcohol.”

In a coordinated campaign they will work with coffee shops and have alcohol messages printed on the cup sleeves.

FACTS:

Risk: Alcohol is the second biggest lifestyle health risk factor after tobacco use.

Daily units: Department of Health current recommendations for alcohol intake are no more than 3/4 units per day for men and 2/3 units per day for women.

Advice: The Department of Health advises people to have at least two alcohol free days a week and not to drink at all for 48 hours after a heavy drinking session.

Health: Drinking above recommended levels increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease and various cancers.

Quality of life: Heavy drinking above recommended limits also affects sleep, causes sexual problems, is related to depression and fatigue and can affect relationships.