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Rise in alcohol-related deaths reveals women are increasingly at risk

Posted on the 23rd August 2023

Women Alcohol Risks Research

A new report indicates a significant reduction in the gender gap concerning alcohol-related deaths in the USA.

While alcohol-related death rates for men have been climbing since 2009, with substantial increases yearly since 2018, the upward trend for women began a decade earlier and has been accelerating, averaging nearly 15 per cent annual growth from 2018 to 2020.

The study utilized data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tracking causes of death such as alcohol-related poisoning, liver disease, and gastritis. Notably, unintentional injuries, homicides, and indirectly alcohol-related incidents were excluded from the analysis.

The study highlights a surge in alcohol-related deaths across all age groups for both genders, with the most significant narrowing of the gender gap occurring among individuals aged 65 and older.

This shift may not imply increased alcohol consumption among senior women but rather underscores the cumulative effects of chronic alcohol use on females.

Researchers attribute this difference to biological factors, such as women having lower levels of alcohol-metabolizing enzymes, leading to heightened exposure and greater long-term organ damage.

Additionally, stress plays a pivotal role in alcohol misuse for both men and women.

The convergence of alcohol use patterns could indicate a rise in stress and stress-related disorders among women in recent times, as proposed by the researchers.

Related: Ireland to introduce world-first alcohol health labeling policy

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