HEALTHY LIVING
01/15/2014 08:47 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

80,000 Alcohol-Caused Deaths In North And Latin America Each Year, Study Finds

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Alcohol consumption is directly responsible for nearly 80,000 deaths every year in North and Latin America, with most deaths being caused by liver disease, according to a new study.

And that doesn't even include the number of deaths that are somehow linked, but not directly caused, by alcohol consumption, such as falls, suicides, violence, heart disease and stroke, noted study researchers Dr. Vilma Gawryszewski and Dr. Maristela Monteiro, of the Pan American Health Organization.

The findings, published in the journal Addiction, analyzed the instances alcohol was a "necessary" cause of death in 16 countries in the Americas, where "necessary" means that death would not have occurred without alcohol consumption. Between 2007 and 2009, there was an average of 79,456 deaths a year directly attributed to alcohol. Researchers found that death rates wholly attributed to alcohol differed by country, age and sex.

Country-wise, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua had the highest death rates from alcohol consumption.

For differences between sexes, researchers found that 84 percent of all the deaths were in men. Men had a 27.8 times higher risk than women of dying from alcohol consumption in El Salvador and an 18.9 times higher risk than women of dying from alcohol consumption in Nicaragua. Meanwhile, men had a 3.2 times higher risk than women of dying from alcohol consumption in the U.S.A and Canada.

Analyzing age, researchers found that people between ages 50 and 69 had the highest death rates wholly attributed to alcohol in the U.S.A., Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba and Argentina. Meanwhile, in Mexico, risk of alcohol-caused death was at its highest after age 70 (though risk of death increased with age up until age 70).

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