Alcohol kills more Slovaks

THE NUMBER of deaths caused by alcohol as a percentage of the total number of deaths in Slovakia has increased by 60 percent over the last three years, with experts stating that heavy drinking is being caused by frustration and a struggle to survive among some people, the Sme daily reported on July 6.

(Source: Sme)

“People that have found their place in life or have problems surviving often turn to alcohol for comfort,” Ivan Novotný, the director of the AT sanatorium, which deals with alcoholics, told Sme.

In absolute numbers, the number of deaths caused by alcohol stood at 24 people per 100,000 in 2014, compared to 15 people per 100,000 in 2011. In higher risk groups, the figure was as high as 40 per 100,000 in 2014. The figures stem from a report on the state of the health of the Slovak population, which is currently undergoing the comments process.

Deaths due to alcohol are particularly common among people aged between 55 and 64 years of age, and the figure is four times higher among men than women.

The report also states that a large number of the deaths caused by chronic alcoholism involve physical injuries. The reason for the increased number of deaths due to accidents is the fact that people do not respect the general rule that they should not drink while carrying out activities where an injury can occur, according to Novotný.

“A person doesn’t realise that a dose of alcohol of 0.5 parts per thousand slows response times,” said Novotný, as quoted by Sme, adding that under such an influence a person isn’t quick enough, for example, “to pull their finger away from a chainsaw to avoid being cut”.

Cirrhosis of the liver, which involves the death of liver cells and a gradual hardening of the liver, is the most prevalent cause of death among heavy drinkers. Excessive drinking also causes veins in the oesophagus to bleed, the chambers of the heart to enlarge, stomach aches, epileptic seizures and shaking, states the report.

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