People living in the cold drink more alcohol and suffer more from cirrhosis, the study confirms

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A team from the United States, Mexico and Spain studied public information on alcohol consumption by residents of 193 countries and 50 states of the United States and concluded that there is a clear association between these data and weather conditions. It has been discovered that in the colder and less sunny regions the proportion of the drinking population is greater. Furthermore, in cold areas, there were also more cases of cirrhosis associated with alcohol abuse. The research that throws these conclusions has been published in the journal hepatology.

Consumption of alcohol contributes significantly to the mortality and disability of the population worldwide, which is why it is associated with the development of 60 water and chronic diseases, including several types of cancer. Not only that, alcohol abuse is one of the most common causes of cirrhosis. This habit varies from one country to another, and with this change, not only factors such as price and state regulation, but also the standard of living and the development of societies should be done.

The cold, the cause of alcohol abuse

In this context, the scientists of the University of Pittsburgh, under the guidance of Ramona Bataller, decided to check another hypothesis: that the majority of the drinking population lives in cold and less sunny places. To do this, they calculated the proportions of drinking citizens over the age of 15 in 193 countries. They looked for the percentage of systemic drinkers (those who consume 60 or more grams of pure ethyl alcohol within 30 days) and the percentage of cirrhosis cases due to alcohol abuse.

As climate parameters, the scientists considered in each country: average annual temperature, average hours of sunshine and classified each country into five types, according to the Köppen system. A detailed analysis was also carried out in the 50 states of the United States and in their more than 3,000 districts.

They found that the average temperature and the number of sunlight hours correlated with the number of liters of alcohol consumed per person per year. There was a significant inverse correlation between the temperature and the frequency of sunny weather and the number of people who drink excessively, as well as cirrhosis due to alcohol abuse. At the same time, the last parameter (the proportion of patients) was related to the number of liters of alcohol consumed per person per year.

From cold to warm: a) liters of alcohol per capita b) annual temperature c) number of hours of sunshine

Bataller et al. / Hepatology 2018.

Other factors

The authors say they have considered all the possible secondary variables that could affect the proportion of the population drinking in the country, such as religion.

The reasons for this connection (scientists also believe that it is causal) may be different: first, it is believed that alcohol is used as a means of vasodilatation, or dilation of blood vessels, leading to better blood flow for smooth muscles and acts as a heating agent.

In addition, the connection may also be associated with mental disorders, including depression, which in turn is also associated with alcohol abuse and climatic factors.

A recent study published by the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, warns that safe drinking of alcohol should not exceed 100 grams per week, an amount that could result in 5 or 6 glasses of wine or beer per week.

Daniel Meza

This news was originally published on N + 1, a science that is added.

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