WOMEN are putting their lives at risk by misunderstanding how much alcohol they can safely drink, according to a new report.
Nearly a third of people think it is reasonable for a woman to drink two glasses of wine five nights a week, according to research from across the region, including Sunderland.
However, this amount is above the recommended allowance and women could be doubling their risk of getting cancer or liver cirrhosis, says the study, carried out by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Our findings suggest that a significant number of women could be putting their health at increasing risk because they misunderstand or are unaware of the damage that a few drinks on a regular basis can do. We already know that more than half of the region’s women are unaware of the daily recommended limits.”
The recommended alcohol limit for women is no more than two to three units of alcohol, roughly a standard glass and a half of wine, a day.
Women drinking at or above these recommendations on a daily basis are 50 per cent more likely to be at risk of breast cancer, twice as likely to get mouth cancer and almost twice as likely to get liver cirrhosis.
Mr Shevills added: “Alcohol-related deaths in women across the region have increased by a staggering 176 per cent over the last two decades – which is more than double the national average. If we are to improve health and quality of life in the North East, we need to change people’s attitudes and drinking behaviour.
“This can only be achieved if we help them understand the recommended daily limits and the risks of ignoring them. Getting people to understand how many units of alcohol there are in their favourite drinks and encouraging them to keep track of how much, and how often they are drinking, is also hugely important when explaining the sometimes life-saving benefits of cutting back.”
Last month, Balance launched its Drinking Causes Damage You Can’t See campaign to raise awareness of the recommended limits and the risks of ignoring them.
Balance teams will be visiting supermarkets and other sites across the region to give out advice. They will be at the Co-op store in Houghton today and tomorrow and the Sunderland Aquatic Centre on Monday and Tuesday.
The team will use a life-sized x-ray of a body to show where alcohol-related diseases such as strokes, heart attacks, dementia, mouth, throat and liver cancer could strike.
To find out more about drinking limits visit www.balancenortheast.co.uk/harm.
and request a free information booklet.