Do you enjoy a daily nighttime routine that involves a glass or two of wine? Do you meet up with friends on the weekends to have dinner and a few cocktails? Many people enjoy alcoholic beverages for various reasons. During the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption increased and it could be bad for women’s health.
One study found evidence that suggests that during the first year of the pandemic people started drinking more alcohol to deal with stress. Along with the increase in alcohol consumption, there was also an increase in liver transplants needed for alcohol-related liver disease and emergency room visits for withdrawal from alcohol. If that wasn’t bad enough, the researchers also found that alcohol-related deaths increased by about 25%. It is thought that these deaths are due to the toll that the pandemic has taken on people and alcohol treatment being disrupted (3).
Another study that had over 370,000 participants found that any amount of alcohol consumption increased the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease, and other cardiovascular diseases. The more alcohol consumed, the more the risks increased (1). This is especially concerning for women because heart disease is the number one cause of death among American women.
What are your thoughts on these studies? Do you think this research is accurate? Do you think your drinking or anyone you know has increased since the pandemic started? Do you think drinking alcohol is affecting your health now or may affect it in the future? These are all questions to ask yourself and contemplate. Many people may not even realize how much they drink or if their drinking has increased.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has a webpage on how excessive alcohol use is a risk to women’s health. To check out the page click here. The CDC lists the following statistics related to women’s health and alcohol:(2)
- About 13% of women report binge drinking an average of 4 times a month and consuming 5 drinks during a binge.
- In 2019, approximately 32% of female high school students reported consuming alcohol which was higher than male high school students.
- In 2019, about 4% of adult women had an alcohol use disorder.
According to the CDC, due to biological differences, women will absorb a greater amount of alcohol and it takes a longer amount of time to metabolize that alcohol. These differences put women at an increased risk of negative health effects from alcohol (2).
These studies and statistics do bring up some interesting points. Alcohol has become a popular social aspect in our culture. Although you may not have any issues with alcohol consumption, many people do. It is important to bring attention to the topic to bring more awareness to the negative effects that alcohol can have on our health.
- Biddinger KJ, Emdin CA, Haas ME, et al. Association of Habitual Alcohol Intake With Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(3):e223849. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.3849
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 19). Excessive alcohol use and risks to women’s health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 22, 2022
- White AM, Castle IP, Powell PA, Hingson RW, Koob GF. Alcohol-Related Deaths During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Published online March 18, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.4308
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