Excessive intake of alcohol takes toll on the health of New Yorkers, besides causing death of 1,500 adults annually, says a study.
Alcohol drinking also accounted for one-tenth of total hospitalizations in the city reaching about 100,000 each year, said a recent report from the City’s health department.
The report titled ‘Health Consequences of Alcohol Use in New York City’ said that alcohol cases prompt 78,000 visits to hospital emergency departments, with a rate that more than doubled between 2003 and 2009.
While half of adult New Yorkers abstained from drinking, the report underlined that excessive drinking was prevalent among those who do consume alcohol.
According to a survey by the health department, 42 percent of the city’s adult drinkers were engaged in “binge” drinking ( five or more drinks on one occasion) in October, while 11 percent defining themselves as heavy drinkers - a category that includes men who average more than two drinks a day and women who average more than one.
Underage drinking is also common in the city with more than one in four New Yorkers under the age of 21 years consuming alcohol. More than half of these young drinkers were engaged in binge drinking while 10 percent reported heavy drinking.
The study said that binge drinking and heavy regular drinking causes a wide range of serious health problems and excessive drinking also causes injuries by impairing judgment and coordination. Alcohol consumption can lead to damage of various organs, heart disease, cancer, stroke and dementia. It can also lead to depression, suicide, homicide, domestic violence and sexually transmitted diseases.
“Excessive drinking can lead to injuries, violence, and fatal accidents in the short term, and heart disease, liver disease, cancer and other chronic conditions in the long term,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City Health Commissioner.
The department found that chronic liver disease was the leading direct cause in the estimated 1,537 alcohol-related deaths in 2008, accounting for one in five. Alcohol consumption also led to 46 percent of homicides, 30 percent of deaths from accidents and poisoning, and 28 percent of motor vehicle-related deaths in the city each year.
Overall, alcohol drinking results in 79,000 deaths in the US annually, a toll that makes excessive drinking the nation’s third leading behavior-related cause of death, the study said.
“Alcohol misuse can also disrupt one’s well-being by jeopardizing work, finances and relationships,” Farley added.