09/01/2012

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Duration: 29 minutes

With alcohol consumption peaking during Christmas, doctors warn that even moderate drinking could be harming our health. But how easy is it to give up booze? Wendy Hurrell takes the ultimate Yuletide challenge and goes dry in December.

  • Alcohol Information and Support

    Alcohol Information and Support

    Have you, or someone you know, been affected by the issues raised in this programme?

    Get information and support
  • More elderly in London 'seek drink problem help'

    More elderly in London 'seek drink problem help'

    There has been a sharp rise in the number of elderly people being treated for drinking problems in London, data suggests.

    Figures compiled for BBC Inside Out London by the NHS Information Centre reveal over the past 10 years, there has been a 163% increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions for the over 65s.

    The rate is rising faster for the over 65s than any other age group in the UK, and only north-east England has a higher rate of these admissions than London.

    Older people are much more likely to drink every day than those of other ages, according to an NHS study into alcohol use.

    Read the full feature on the BBC News website below...

    BBC News: More elderly in London 'seek drink problem help'
  • Video: Elderly people with drinking problems

    Video: Elderly people with drinking problems

    There has been a rise in the number of elderly people being treated for drinking problems in London, according to figures compiled for BBC Inside Out by the NHS Information Centre.

    Watch a video on the BBC News website...

    BBC News: Rise in elderly people with drinking problems in London
  • Two drink-free days a week needed

    Two drink-free days a week needed

    People should have at least two days a week completely clear of alcohol, a group of MPs says.

    It is one of the recommendations in a report by the Commons science and technology committee, which is calling for a review of all government guidelines on alcohol in the UK.

    Read the full feature on the BBC News website...

    BBC News: Two drink-free days a week needed, MPs' report says
  • Alcohol units guide

    Alcohol units guide

    A report by a group of MPs has expressed concern that government guidelines on how much alcohol people should drink "appeared to endorse daily drinking".

    Here we show what the government recommends and what the units actually mean.

    Read more on the BBC News Health website below...

    BBC News: Alcohol units guide
  • Alcohol fact file

    * More than 9 million people in England drink more than the recommended daily limit (Source: NHS UK).

    * 20% of the population are risky drinkers, drinking more than the government guidance (Source: NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care).

    * 90% of Great Britain respondents reported that they had heard of measuring alcohol in units.

    There has been an increase from 54% in 1997 to 75% in 2009 in the percentage of people in GB who had heard of daily drinking limits (Source: NHS Information Centre Alcohol Report 2011).

    * Over a million hospital admissions per year are currently caused by excessive drinking, with the total cost to the NHS expected to rise to £3.7Bn if no further action is taken to arrest this increase.

    Hospital admissions for alcohol misuse stood at half a million in 2002 and have doubled, now costing the NHS £2.7Bn (Source: Alcohol Concern).

    * Drinking a large glass (250ml) of 12% wine (3 units) every day if you're a woman, or two pints of 4% lager (4.6 units) if you're a man, can push you above the recommended daily limits.

    * Men who regularly drink more than 2 pints of strong (5.2%) lager, which is more than six units, every day:

    - are over three times more likely to get mouth cancer;

    - could be three times more likely to have a stroke.

    Women who regularly drink two large glasses of 13% wine (6.5 units) or more a day:

    - are twice as likely to have high blood pressure;

    - are 50% more likely to get breast cancer.

    About 15,000 people in England die from alcohol-related causes each year.

    About 32% of these deaths are from liver disease, 21% from cancer and 17% from cardiovascular illnesses, such as heart disease and strokes

    These figures come from the NHS and Department of Health.

  • Background: MPs urge Government to review its drinking guidelines

    Background: MPs urge Government to review its drinking guidelines

    Read the report of the Government's Select Committee on alcohol published in Janaury 2012.

    Parliament: Select Committee alcohol report

Credits

Presenter
Matthew Wright
Series Producer
Andy Richards
Reporter
Wendy Hurrell

Broadcasts

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