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WHO Estimates 2.6 Million Alcohol-Related Deaths Yearly

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Each year, alcohol consumption exacts a deadly toll on humanity, claiming nearly three million lives, the World Health Organization reports. Despite a modest decrease in recent years, the organization warns that the number of alcohol-related deaths remains perilously high.

According to a chilling report from the United Nations health agency, alcohol’s impact on global health is staggering, accounting for nearly 5% of annual deaths worldwide, with a deadly combination of reckless driving, alcohol-induced abuse, and a range of diseases and disorders topping the list.

The report’s findings are a stark reminder of alcohol’s deadly consequences, with 2.6 million fatalities in 2019 alone, representing a full 4.7% of all deaths globally.

The report’s findings expose a concerning gender divide, with men bearing the brunt of alcohol’s lethal impact, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all related deaths, a trend that warrants urgent action.

“Substance use severely harms individual health, increasing the risk of chronic diseases, mental health conditions, and tragically resulting in millions of preventable deaths every year,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

According to the report, there has been a encouraging downward trend in alcohol consumption and its harmful effects worldwide, with a noticeable decline since 2010.

“(But) the health and social burden due to alcohol use remains unacceptably high,” he continued, highlighting that younger people were disproportionately affected.

The WHO has shed light on a troubling phenomenon: in 2019, a disproportionate share of alcohol-related fatalities – 13% to be exact – affected individuals in the 20-39 age group, a demographic that’s often characterized by vitality and promise.

The health risks associated with drinking are alarming, with links to debilitating diseases such as cirrhosis and certain types of cancer, highlighting the importance of responsible consumption.

In 2019, alcohol consumption claimed an estimated 1.6 million lives, with noncommunicable diseases being the primary cause of death, according to the report’s disturbing findings.

In 2019, alcohol’s deadly impact was felt across various health categories, with 474,000 fatalities attributed to cardiovascular diseases, 401,000 to cancer, and a staggering 724,000 to injuries, including tragic cases of self-harm and traffic accidents.

The report also highlights alcohol’s dangerous intersection with infectious diseases, revealing that excessive drinking increases vulnerability to tuberculosis, HIV, pneumonia, and other harmful illnesses.

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An estimated 209 million people lived with alcohol dependence in 2019 — 3.7 per cent of the global population.

Total per capita consumption worldwide decreased slightly to 5.5 litres of alcohol in 2019 from 5.7 litres nine years earlier, the report found.

However, alcohol consumption overall is unevenly distributed around the globe.

Well, over half of the world’s population over the age of 15 abstains completely.

Europe accounted by far for the highest levels of per capita drinking, at 9.2 litres, followed by the Americas at 7.5 litres.

A recent report sheds light on this very question, revealing that countries in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia with large Muslim populations have notably lower consumption levels.

Ever wondered how much alcohol people actually drink? A recent analysis has crunched the numbers, revealing that in 2019, those who raised a glass (or two) consumed an average of 27 grams of pure alcohol daily – a fascinating insight into human habits.

That may not sound like a lot, but 27 grams of pure alcohol is essentially the same as having two glasses of wine, two small beers, or two shots of liquor – a tangible way to understand the average daily alcohol intake.

“This level and frequency of drinking is associated with increased risks of numerous health conditions and associated mortality and disability,” the WHO warned.

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