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The Chronic Drinking and Dementia Myth

Myth: Chronic drinking is a risk factor for dementia.

Truth: This is true.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines chronic heavy drinking as consuming 60g of pure alcohol per day for men and 40g a day for women. This translates to about six glasses of wine for men and four glasses of wine for women. Dementia is the gradual decrease in memory and other thinking skills which severely impacts an individual’s ability to perform everyday activities.

A large study published in the BMJ examined if chronic heavy drinking can lead to early-onset dementia. Over a five-year period between 2003 and 2013, researchers found there were 31.6 million people over the age of 20 that were discharged from a hospital with dementia. The prevalence of early-onset dementia, occurring before the age of 65 years was 1 in 20. In the same period of study, 945,512 cases of alcohol use disorders were diagnosed. For this reason, they determined that there is a clear association between chronic drinking and dementia. To read more about this study, click here.

Reference

  1. 1. Indicator metadata registry details. World Health Organization. Accessed May 12, 2023. https://www.who.int/data/gho/indicator-metadata-registry/imr-details/458.

  2. Wise J. Large study is “robust” evidence of link between chronic heavy drinking and dementia. BMJ. (2018);360:k814. DOI:10.1136/bmj.k814

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