Drinking Resulting In Chronic Health Issues In African Americans

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    A new study has found that increasing numbers of people are drinking heavily and falling into high-risk disorders, resulting in even more alarming health concerns. Black individuals specifically have increased risk of developing depression and cancer at the hands of alcohol.


    According to Forbes, alcohol use rose from 65% to 73% across all demographics of the adult population. High-risk drinking, for that matter, saw a near 30% increase as well and in both minority groups and women and the elderly, the numbers were much higher.


    Young men across all demographics continue to drink at high levels, too. Roughly 18% of all men over the age of 18 years old have had at least five alcoholic drinks in one day at least once over the past year.


    Bel Marra Health adds that alcoholism and depression may have a specific and genetic link in African American men, causing further health concerns.


    A Yale-Penn study of the genetics of drug and alcohol dependence has led researchers to discover a gene variant inside the brain that is tied with the risk of developing alcohol abuse disorder and severe depression. The study found connections across all demographics but was much more commonly seen in black men.


    Unfortunately, whether it’s alcohol-related or not, over 80% of depressed individuals neglect their issues and do not seek out professional assistance. Along with depression, some of the other chronic health risks associated with alcohol use include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, cirrhosis, and, especially for black women, breast cancer.


    “Alcohol is an important modifiable exposure, whereas many other risk factors are not,” said Melissa A. Troester, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University. “Women who are concerned about their risk of breast cancer could consider reducing levels of exposure.”


    Dr. Troester and fellow colleagues studied 22,338 women from the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium, and had all participants report their alcohol consumption statistics. The research found that women who had seven or more drinks per week showed an increased risk for almost all subtypes of breast cancer. Also, women who had 14 or more alcoholic drinks each week were 33% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who consumed four or fewer alcoholic beverages per week.


    More research is needed for all of these claims, but abusing alcohol has clearly been shown to result in major health concerns that could be fatal. Be sure to drink responsibly, limit alcohol consumption as much as possible, and seek professional medical assistance if you’re in need of help.