Alcohol-related deaths rising among US women during pandemic: Report
Alcohol-related liver disease and deaths have been on the rise among women in the US for the past decade, but experts say they are now seeing an even more pronounced spike among women and young people during the coronavirus pandemic.
The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and other institutions across the US are reporting 30-50% increases in the number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by alcohol-related liver disease over the past year.
Dr. Raymond Chung, director of hepatology and the Liver Center at Massachusetts General Medicine said to factors like isolation, unemployment, financial difficulties, the decreased access to in-person medical and intervention support and the overall added stress of the coronavirus pandemic has led Americans to consume more alcohol.
"We are seeing the downstream consequences of the pandemic," he said about the rise in alcohol-related disease diagnoses. "It's really been a substantial trickle-down effect and one that we all have to be left to contend with."
"This is a potentially toxic drug and it should be viewed as that," Chung said of alcohol.
While some alcohol-related liver diseases like cirrhosis take years to develop, experts say they have seen a rise during the pandemic in cases of alcoholic hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver caused by drinking alcohol.
Alcoholic hepatitis can develop in the course of weeks and months, versus the years it may take for cirrhosis of the liver to occur, according to Dr. Jessica Mellinger, an assistant professor and hematology specialist at University of Michigan Medicine.
Recent research in Europe has found that drinking even one small glass of an alcoholic drink a day raises the risk of irregular heartbeat, which can lead to a stroke and heart failure.
Researchers say the new findings dismiss decades-old ideas about the health benefits of alcohol in moderation.
Islam and some religions forbid alcoholic consumption and view it as sinful due to the physical, mental and spiritual harm it has on humans. Any food or drink that causes intoxication is strictly forbidden in Islam.
In the Quran, all kinds of alcoholic drinks are unlawful and referenced as incentives from the Satan.
In the fifth chapter of Quran, verse 90, God says: “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, idolatry, and divining arrows are evil and from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.”