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Heavy smoking and drinking ages us.

Recent Danish research shows that heavy smoking and drinking lead to physical signs of ageing that cause you to look older than you are. The findings are based on information from more than 11 500 adults aged >20 years (average age 51), whose heart and visible ageing signs were tracked for an average of 11.5 years as part of the Copenhagen Heart Study, which began in 1976. Participants were asked about their lifestyle and general health, including how much they drank or smoked, and were checked for signs of ageing that had previously been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease or death--earlobe creases, arcus cornea, xanthelasmata and malepattern baldness.

Average alcohol consumption was 2.6 drinks per week for women and 11.4 for men, and just over half the women (57%) and two-thirds of the men (67%) were current smokers. Arcus cornea was the most common sign of ageing in both sexes, and more common among men aged >70 and women aged >80. Xanthelasmata was the least common sign. Analysis of drinking and smoking patterns showed a consistently increased risk of looking older than true age among people who smoked and drank heavily.

Schou AL, M0lbak ML, Schnor P, Gr0nbsk M, Tolstrup JS. Alcohol consumption, smoking and development of visible age-related signs: A prospective cohort study. J Epidemiol Comm Health 2017;71(12):1177-1184. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2016-208568

B Farham

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Title Annotation:30 days in medicine
Author:Farham, B.
Publication:South African Medical Journal
Article Type:Report
Date:Dec 23, 2017
Words:240
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