Six out of every ten people in the UK have raised or abnormal levels of blood cholesterol.
Cholesterol increases as you get older. It can also increase if you;
- eat too much saturated fat
- gain too much weight
- are not very active
Some people have high cholesterol because they have inheritied this trait from a parent.
Why is alcohol harmful?
The alcohol that goes into your body is processed by your liver. If there is too much alcohol to process the health of your liver will suffer. Over the long-term, drinking too much alcohol can lead to fatty liver, hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). Being “apple shaped” is an indication that you may be developing fatty liver, especially if your waist measures more than 102cm (40 inches) in a man and 88cm (35 inches) in a woman. Remember to measure your waist at its widest point. And people who are apple shaped often have high levels of a blood fat called triglycerides and they may be at risk of diabetes in the future.
Here are some other facts about alcohol that you might not know:
There could be a lot of calories in your regular tipple. So regular drinking can cause you to gain weight
- Average glass of wine = 120 kcals
- Average strength pint of beer or larger = 165 kcals
- A single shot of spirits = 65 kcals
Drinking can affect your mood, behaviour and the quality of your sleep
Drinking can affect your sexual performance, especially if you are a man
Regular drinking above the low risk guidelines
The more you drink and the more often, the higher the risk to your health. If you regularly drink over the low risk guideline amounts you could put yourself at risk of:
- Heart disease
- An irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- A stroke
- Reduced fertility
- Cancer of the throat, oesophagus or larynx
- Breast cancer
- Depression and anxiety
Are there any benefits?
The benefits for heart health from drinking alcohol are less than we originally thought and apply to fewer people. The only group with the potential to benefit are woman over the age of 55 - especially if they drink 5 units or less per week.
Any potential benefit has to be weighed up against the adverse effects of drinking on overall cancer risk. The risk starts at any level of regular drinking and increase the more that is drunk.
Cut down and feel great
There’s good news. Cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink can reduce both the short and long term risks to your health. You may start to feel better quickly because you have more energy, sleep better, lose some weight or are less moody.
If you are a lifelong heavy drinker you might need help to stop drinking. It’s best to have a chat with your doctor about this and get their help.
See our useful links on alcohol