Hyderabad: The consumption of alcohol causes 12 types of diseases and is the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability. The consumption of alcohol is the highest in India amongst the southeast Asian countries which is projected to increase further by 2025.
An estimated three million (30 lakh) people die every year globally as a result of alcohol consumption, according to the 2018 Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health released by World Health Organisation.
Health advocates and patients groups state that it is high time the government takes stringent steps to understand that alcohol is a leading risk factor for health, disability and death and strict steps must be taken in controlling the sales.
Experts state that alcohol is one of the major risk factors for non-communicable diseases, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and also causes premature child birth. Consumption of alcohol increases the susceptibility of communicable diseases like tuberculosis, sexual diseases, HIV and AIDS and also contributes to suicide.
Dr Preethi Swaroop, a senior psychiatrist, said alcohol addiction and its related psychiatric problems were well-documented. “It is also known to be one of the factors for suicide in these addicts. There are studies which show the impact of alcohol on mental health,” Dr Swaroop said.
Physical ailments like liver cirrhosis, increasing risk of cardiovascular diseases are documented but in all these cases it is one of the risk factors.
A senior doctor on condition of anonymity explained, “We do not document a death due to alcohol. There is always a medical condition and in that it is one of the causes.”
“If there is a change in documentation, then there would be more awareness and also lead to valuable data for the government to understand,” the doctor said.
Experts state that alcohol has no nutrition and it is only calories that are added to the body along with the fat-laden foods which are consumed in good quantities along with liquor.
Dr Adam Karpati of Public Health Programmes said, “There is now an opportunity for the government to prevent millions of deaths from the harmful use of alcohol. It is a known fact that alcohol consumption and driving is leading to fatal road accidents and that is being tackled in the ‘Do not drink and drive’ programme. This itself shows that there is a need for an alcohol policy and better regulations.”...