Daily Archives: 14/02/2014

Dying for a drink

I read this with interest recently:

Russian men losing years to vodka

Russian men who down large amounts of vodka have an “extraordinarily” high risk of an early death, a new study says.

Researchers tracked about 151,000 adult men in the Russian cities of Barnaul, Byisk and Tomsk from 1999 to 2010. They interviewed them about their drinking habits and, when about 8,000 later died, followed up to monitor their causes of death.  The risk of dying before age 55 for those who said they drank three or more half-litre bottles of vodka a week was shocking 35%.

Overall, a quarter of Russian men die before reaching 55, compared with 7% of men in the UK and fewer than 1% in the United States. The life expectancy for men in Russia is 64 years, placing it among the lowest 50 countries in the world in that category.

Alcohol has long been a top killer in Russia and vodka is often the drink of choice, available cheaply and often homemade in small villages. Previous studies have estimated that more than 40% of working-age men in Russia die because they drink too much, including using alcohol that is not meant to be consumed, like that in colognes and antiseptics.

Drinking is so engrained in Russian culture there’s a word that describes a drinking binge that lasts several days: zapoi.

You can read the full article here.  This matches my experience on an alcoholic liver disease ward that the majority of patients were male, late 40’s to early 50’s, who were drinking primarily spirits.  The average male life expectancy in the UK is 80 so drinking knocks an enormous 25 years off their life.

I thought I’d end this post on a more cheery note by wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day. The biggest gift that Mr Hangoverfree and I have given ourselves today is sobriety and choosing not to celebrate with champagne but with chocolate.  In the eponymous words of Renton in Trainspotting ‘Choose your future, choose life’.