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Alcohol and its effect on the NHS, society and individual health

Published on 03/10/2011

Private health insurance customers could avoid the consequences of boozing Britain, as increasing levels of alcohol related hospital admissions will cost the NHS nearly £4bn over the next few years.

A recent study in the Lancet journal concluded that alcohol is more harmful to society than Class A drugs heroin or crack cocaine. Indeed, between the years of 2009 and 2010 over a million people were admitted to hospital for alcohol related illnesses, costing the NHS £2.7bn.

Charity Alcohol Concern has predicted that rates of alcohol related hospital admissions will rise again to 1.5m every year by 2015, increasing costs to £3.7bn.

With the NHS having to make over £20bn in savings over the next 4 years, the cuts are already being felt by patients without private medical insurance. Waiting lists are increasing, diagnostic tests are being restricted, and cancer drugs are being turned down.

With private medical insurance, you will be covered for treatment in a private hospital of your choice at a time of your choice, avoiding the negative effects of alcohol related illnesses on the NHS.

But it is not just the NHS that could suffer. Long term effects of alcohol on individuals include an increased risk of breast cancer, oral cancers, strokes and cirrhosis. More than 3 drinks a day can lead to hypertension and congestive heart failure.

A recent study by Cancer Research UK, published in the British Medical Journal, revealed that alcohol directly causes 13,000 cancer cases in the UK each year.

The negative effect of alcohol could be due to the product alcohol is broken down into in the body, called acetaldehyde, which is toxic and can damage DNA.

Dr KJ Patel, from the Medical Research Council's laboratory of molecular biology in Cambridge, said:

"You cannot get a cancer cell occurring unless DNA is altered. When you drink, the acetaldehyde is corrupting the DNA of life and puts you on the road to cancer.”

Certain health insurers like PruHealth reward customers who live a healthy lifestyle. PruHealth’s Vitality system awards points to people who exercise regularly, avoiding smoking, and eat a healthy diet. The more points collected, the greater the rewards.

Compare health insurance policies online now to help you avoid the consequences of boozing Britain.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011

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