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Czech study: Alcohol abuse cuts length of life by over 20 years

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Klecany, Central Bohemia, Sept 8 (CTK) – Excessive use of alcohol cuts the life expectancy by more than 20 years, a recent study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NUDZ) has found, NUDZ spokesman Jan Cervenka told CTK.

The extensive study was conducted by researcher Blanka Nechanska, who compared the data of people hospitalised on account of alcohol use from 1994 to 2013 with the data on the deaths in this period.

“Out of 90,375 people hospitalised due to problems with alcohol use, 25,000 patients died, of which 83 percent were economically active, with an 80-percent prevalence of males,” Nechanska said.

The people in the study’s sample lived 50.8 years on average, without a significant difference revealed between men and women.

The study concluded that the most frequent causes of death were alcoholic liver disease and some groups of diagnoses concerning external causes of illnesses and death, such as the ischemic heart disease, accidents and intentional self-inflicted injuries.

“Taking into account the number of potentially wasted years of life as compared to the average lifespan, it adds up to 534,000 years lost,” Nechanska said.

The September 9 is the international Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. FASD, along with the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), are the two most frequent causes of impairments of the fetus due to alcohol consumption by mothers during pregnancy, leading to numerous abnormalities in the fetus.

Some of these impairments are visible immediately after birth, while others show later in the course of childhood.

“Facial abnormalities and dysmorphic features, small head circumference, lower weight and length at birth, deteriorated motor coordination, hyperactivity and attention disorders, cognitive functions’ disorders and lower intelligence or sight and hearing malfunctions are those most frequently cited,” Ladislav Csemy of NUDZ said.

Csemy said approximately 80 newborns in the Czech Republic are annually affected with FAS, with ten times more children being affected by FADS.

While preventative programmes have worked well abroad, so far there has not been a coherent preventative plan in the Czech Republic. In Europe, 2.7 times more children affected by FAS are born as compared to the rest of the world due to the fact that up to one fifth of European women drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Csemy said the institute’s new application named “I care about its health” is to become available for free at by September 9. The application is to allow its users to test the risk rate of their behaviour and provide them with information about FAS, he added.

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