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Drinking in cold weather may cause alcohol-related liver cirrhosis, finds study

Drinking in cold weather may cause alcohol-related liver cirrhosis, finds study

July 25 | By Rachael

It is a popular notion that alcohol keeps the body warm and as a result, it is widely consumed during colder climates. St. Bernard dogs with their little barrels of brandy tied to their collar rescuing stranded travelers freezing in bone-chilling temperature was once a common sight in the Swiss Alps. However, science has proven that this belief is a fatal mistake and that the reality is entirely opposite.

Alcohol dilates the blood vessel and moves the blood closer to the skin, giving that warm feeling. But as the warm blood moves toward the skin, the core body heat that is needed to survive starts diminishing and in extreme conditions, it can be fatal. Other complications may ensue as well. Past research has proved the relationship between cooler weather conditions and increased alcohol consumption can lead to alcohol-related liver diseases. Another complication is that in cooler climates where sunlight is unlikely an everyday luxury, depression can also set in, which can contribute to increased alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking or binge drinking can have an adverse impact on the physical and mental health of an individual.

Country’s geography and climate influence alcohol intake

A 2017 study conducted by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, supports the notion that there is a connection between alcohol consumption and the need to stay warm, and colder and less sunny regions may have higher rates of alcoholic cirrhosis. The study was based on a comprehensive analysis of data from 193 countries collected from two different sources — World Health Organization (WHO) database on alcohol intake, liver diseases, cirrhosis and percentage of binge drinking and climatic data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) inclusive of average temperature, latitude and hours of average sunshine.

The findings found a connection between average temperatures, mean annual sunshine hours and an association with alcohol-attributable fraction (AAF). Further analysis showed that average temperature and sunshine hours remained independently associated with AAF, citing that for every degree Celsius increase in temperature, there is a 0.3 percent decrease in AAF.

Though the researchers refrained from establishing a causal relationship, they do support the argument that amount of alcohol intake and chances of alcohol-related cirrhosis is dependent on latitude. They are also hopeful that future public policy measures in preventing alcohol abuse may consider a country’s geography and climate as significant contributing factors.

Past research has also linked dark winter season and lesser sunlight to depression, and its impact on the mental and behavioral health of people. This also increases the possibility of increased alcohol consumption and higher risk of alcohol-related liver diseases.

Road to recovery

Alcohol addiction is like a poison that slowly takes over everything that a person holds dear in his/her life. It can have a negative impact on an individual’s career and personal relationships and at times, the possibility of recovery may seem too far-fetched. However, chances of leading a healthier life are possible through medication and therapy or a combination of the two by professional healthcare providers.

The experts at the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Help can assist you in finding the best alcohol treatment in Colorado that suits an individual’s needs. Call us on our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat with our trained professionals to know more about alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado.