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Middle-aged drinkers risking health

12th October 2012

A leading doctor has warned middle-aged drinkers are taking serious risks with their health.

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Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, who is chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said people in the 55-74 age range are drinking more than they realise and ending in hospital with liver disease and their drinking is leading to increased rates of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

His warning coincides with the Alcohol Concern report showing that people in that group cost the NHS £825m a year as a results of hospital admissions that can be put down to alcohol consumption.

Figures show that is 13 times more than those aged 16-24.

Sir Ian said: “It is the unwitting chronic middle-aged drinkers who are taking serious risks with their health.”

He said people did not realise the implications of their chronic drinking or the cost implications for the health service.

Alcohol Concern said between April 2010 and March 2011, 454,317 people in the older age group were admitted to hospitals in England because of alcohol-related health problems.

An older drinker costs the NHS an average of £1,817 to treat compared to the £1,167 it can cost to treat a younger binge drinker.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby said: “It is the common perception that young people are responsible for the increasing cost of alcohol misuse, but our findings show that in reality this is not the case.

“It is the middle-aged, and often middle class drinker, regularly drinking above recommended limits, who are actually requiring complex and expensive NHS care.”

 

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