Evaluating your likely current (and near future) state of health means taking into account the risk factors — such as current alcohol consumption — that affect you. Our medical diagnosis tool, The Analyst™, identifies major risk factors by asking the right questions.
What is your current average alcohol consumption? A standard drink contains half an ounce of alcohol. A standard drink of beer is 12 ounces (350ml), wine 4 ounces (120ml), and distilled spirits 1 ounce (30ml).
Possible responses:→ Don't know
→ None at all
→ A few drinks per week or less
→ On average about one drink per day
→ On average, two or more drinks per day
Alcohol is a known cause of breast cancer [Cancer Epidemiol 39:pp.67-74, 2015]. More than nine drinks per week significantly increases the risk of breast cancer.
IARC (part of the World Health Organization or WHO) has classified alcohol as a group 1 carcinogen, because it causes cancer in humans. The more a person drinks, and the longer the period of time, the greater their risk of development of cancer – especially head and neck cancers [Cancer Epidemiol 39:pp67-74, 2015]. This increased risk applies across all types of alcoholic beverage.
Mechanism: Ethanol (the alcohol component in an alcoholic drink) is eliminated from the body by its oxidation first to acetaldehyde and then to acetate. While ethanol itself is not mutagenic, acetaldehyde is both carcinogenic and mutagenic, binding to DNA and protein [Alcohol Alcohol 39:pp155-65, 2004].
Alcohol is a known cause of colon cancer [Cancer Epidemiol 39:pp.67-74, 2015]
Vasopressin is an antidiuretic hormone that enables reabsorption of water. Alcohol suppresses the body's secretion of vasopressin, causing the kidneys to remove more water from the body than they should. Drinking excess alcohol can also result in vomiting, and therefore further dehydration.
Alcohol is a known cause of esophageal cancer [Cancer Epidemiol 39:pp.67-74, 2015]
Alcohol inhibits uric acid secretion by the kidneys.
Alcohol is a known cause of laryngeal cancer [Cancer Epidemiol 39:pp.67-74, 2015]
Alcohol is a known cause of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of primary liver cancer [Cancer Epidemiol 39:pp.67-74, 2015]
Those who drink alcohol need more magnesium.
Alcohol is a known cause of oropharyngeal cancer [Cancer Epidemiol 39:pp.67-74, 2015]
Alcohol interferes with the body's absorption of calcium.
The most common cause of pancreatitis is long term excess alcohol consumption.
A higher than normal anxiety level leads many with pyroluria to drink alcohol. As many as one-third to one-half of alcoholics have this genetic chemical imbalance.
A study found that elderly people who drank at least 1.5 drinks per day had a risk of heart failure 47% lower than abstainers, regardless of age, race, blood pressure, history of diabetes, smoking and other factors.
Studies do not justify advising lifelong nondrinkers to start drinking for health, especially because most have good reasons for abstaining. People with liver disease or a history of alcohol abuse should not drink at all, while those with diabetes and hypertension may partake in light alcohol consumption.
Drinking in moderation has been linked with a lower risk of having a fatal heart attack. [Journal of the American Medical Association April 18, 2001; 285: pp.1965-77]