Alcohol Abuse Disorder vs Atherosclerotic Disease
While I do not drink alcohol, I treat many patients who suffer from alcoholism–the new politically correct term is Alcohol Abuse Disorder. Why medicine has to keep renaming it’s diseases is beyond me, I think so we can sounds smart at cocktail parties but in seriousness, because in the 21st century, we are realizing that many illnesses like Autism to Asperger’s are spectrum disorders, that is, some people have it worse than others.
So it is with alcoholism.
According to the National Institue on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (link to https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-facts-and-statistics):
Nearly 88,0009 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women9) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).
To give you some perspective, nearly 800,000 people in the United States die annually from diseases related to artery-clogging like heart attacks and strokes. That is 2,191 deaths every day in the United States from a preventable illness to some degree (there are those with genetic predispositions and bad luck). For perspective, about 2996 people died in the attacks on the Twin Tower on 9/11 [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_September_11_attacks].
My point: alcohol is certainly a problem but tobacco, uncontrolled blood pressure, diabetes, obesity–all the risk factors for artery-clogging are the real killers statistically in the United States and the media seems to overlook this on a daily basis.
In my opinion, the headline of every newspaper every day should be “Thousands more die from Heart Attacks again today, again”