A new research looks at the safety impact of alcohol intake at various ages. The authors believe that the health risks may be less serious for people over the age of 50.
Heavy drinking is linked with an number of negative health effects.
However, as the mainstream press has covered it exhaustively, drinking in moderation may have certain health benefits.
A number of studies have found that drinking low-level alcohol may have a protective effect.
For example, one study showed light and moderate drinking protected against all-cause mortality, as well as cardiovascular disease-related mortality.
Not surprisingly, these stories were well-received and widely read, but not all scholars agree, and the debate is ongoing.
A new study led by Dr. Timothy Naimi of the Massachusetts Boston Medical Center adds additional fuel to a blaze that is already raging.
The authors are using the methods used in previous research, and reporting their results earlier this week in the Journal of Research on Alcohol and Drugs.
A fresh approach
The researchers argue that the manner in which earlier studies measured the health effects of alcohol may be inaccurate. In particular, they note that the studies are usually retrospective and typically recruit participants over 50 years of age.
The authors argue that this is unfair as it excludes someone who might have died before age 50, due to alcohol. “Deceased individuals can not be included in retrospective studies,” as they dryly point out. Dr. Naimi first discussed his concerns about this implicit selection bias in a 2017 paper published in the journal Addiction.
“Those who are established drinkers at age 50 are ‘survivors’ of their alcohol consumption who [initially] might have been healthier or have had safer drinking patterns.”
Dr. Timothy Naimi
Nearly 40 per cent of deaths due to alcohol abuse occur before the age of 50, according to the report.
This suggests that the vast majority of research into the possible hazards of alcohol will not take into account these deaths and may underestimate the actual dangers.
The authors dipped into data from the Alcohol-Related Disease Impact Application held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for re-investigation. According to the CDC, this report “provides national and state estimates of the health impacts related to alcohol, including deaths and years of possible loss of life.”
The difference of age
The analysis showed that the level of an individual’s alcohol-related risk was heavily influenced by age.
In total, 35.8 percent of alcohol-related deaths occurred in people aged 20–49. When looking at deaths that were prevented by alcohol consumption, the scientists found only 4.5 percent in this age group.
When they looked at individuals aged 65 or over, it was a different story: Although a similar 35 percent of alcohol-related deaths occurred in this group, the authors found a huge 80 percent of the deaths prevented by alcohol in this demographic.
This sharp disparity between age groups was also shown by the researchers as they looked at the number of possible years lost to alcohol.
They found that among those aged 20–49 there was 58.4 percent of the total number of years missing. This age group, however, accounted for just 14.5 per cent of life years saved by smoking.
In comparison, the over-65 category accounted for 15 percent of life lost total years, but saved 50 percent of life years.
The authors conclude that younger people “are more likely to die from alcohol abuse than they die from lack of drinking,” but the health benefits of moderate drinking are more likely to be felt by older people.
Although the results are not shocking, they give us a more comprehensive understanding of the health effects of alcohol: moderate drinking may favor individuals in a certain age group, but heavy drinking is detrimental to all.
Rhinophyma: Everything you should know
Rhinophyma is a skin condition that causes the nose to expand. Lumpy, thicker skin and fractured blood vessels are some of the other signs.
Males are far more likely than females to get the condition, which usually occurs between the ages of 50 and 70.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes it, but they do know that acne rosacea, which causes inflammatory pimple breakouts, is a precursor.
When acne rosacea advances to rhinophyma, the skin around the nose swells and the tip of the nose becomes larger. A diagnosis is made based on this distinctive appearance.
In the early stages, medicines are used, but in the latter stages, surgery is required. This is due to the possibility of damaged tissue obstructing the airways. The technique is safe and effective at smoothing or removing rough, thickened patches of skin.
Continue reading to find out more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of this condition.
Causes of rhinophyma
Rhinophyma is characterized by an increase in the number of sebaceous glands (oil glands) and underlying connective tissues in the face. According to studies from 2021, the actual cause is still unknown, and various causes could be involved. A variety of disorders affecting the immune system, nerves, and blood arteries are included.
Acne rosacea, a long-term skin condition more common in women, is the prelude to rhinophyma. Rhinophyma develops in a subset of acne rosacea people.
Rhinophyma is more common in men, with a male-to-female ratio ranging from 5:1 to 30:1, and it usually develops in people between the ages of 50 and 70. Scientists believe that male hormones raise the danger because of the higher prevalence in men.
Some people believe that drinking alcohol causes the condition, however studies show that this is not the case. However, both alcohol and caffeine enlarge blood vessels briefly, aggravating rhinophyma.
In its early beginnings
According to evidence, rhinophyma begins as “pre-rosacea,” with face flushing being the only symptom.
The condition progresses to vascular rosacea, which is characterized by enlarged blood vessels and redness. Acne rosacea causes later, resulting in inflammatory outbreaks.
Finally, acne rosacea progresses to late-stage rosacea, which includes rhinophyma.
The first symptom of rosacea is frequently excessive face flushing. If it evolves to rhinophyma, a person may experience the following symptoms:
- thickened skin on the nose and elsewhere on the face
- expansion of the tip of the nose
- a bumpy texture on areas of the face
- enlarged pores
- oily skin
The condition may restrict the airways at this moment. In addition, because the fluid from the sebaceous glands thickens and can contain bacteria, persistent infection is common.
The amount of sebaceous glands and connective tissue alterations grow with time, resulting in increasing deformity.
Furthermore, there is a relation to cancer. Basal cell carcinoma affects 3–10% of people with rhinophyma, despite the fact that the condition is initially benign.
Rhinophyma is often diagnosed with a visual examination due to its distinctive look.
The presence of at least one primary feature and at least one secondary feature is used by doctors to make a diagnosis.
The following are the main characteristics:
- persistent redness
- pustules, small pimples containing pus
- papules — small, solid pimples that are usually inflamed but do not produce pus
- broken or dilated blood vessels near the skin’s surface
Secondary features include:
- roughened patches of skin on the face
- burning or stinging areas of the skin
- eye symptoms, such as watery eyes or swelling of the eyelids
- marked thickening of skin or excess tissue
- these symptoms elsewhere on the body
There are nonsurgical and surgical options available.
Certain drugs appear to be beneficial, according to the findings. Topical metronidazole (Metrocream) is one option for reducing skin inflammation by preventing the production of reactive oxygen species.
Isotretinoin, a medicine that shrinks the sebaceous glands and reduces the amount of oil they produce, is another choice. If a person wants surgery, however, they must stop taking this drug.
Advanced rhinophyma necessitates surgical removal of the afflicted tissue. A report published in 2020 describes a five-step surgical procedure for rhinophyma that is both safe and effective:
- Dermabrasion: A motorized device resurfaces the skin to facilitate the next steps.
- Dermaplaning: This involves removing affected tissue without directly cutting it. It prepares the skin’s surface for the third step.
- Debulking: The surgeon uses curved scissors to cut away the thickened skin. They also take samples of any areas that may be malignant and send them to a lab for analysis.
- Electrocautery: This involves using heat to destroy the affected tissue.
- Laser use: This final step seals and micro-contours the wound.
Although little data suggests that rhinophyma can recur following surgery, few long-term studies have been conducted.
A person with rhinophyma may suffer significant face flushing in the early stages. Swollen blood vessels and acne-like blemishes occur as the condition worsens.
Later on, the nasal skin thickens and the tip of the nose expands. Doctors diagnose rhinophyma at this point. It appears to be harmless at first, but it has the potential to obstruct airways and raise the risk of skin cancer.
Surgical and drug-based treatments can help, although there is limited evidence that the condition will reoccur after surgery.
Marijuana: What are the common health benefits?
Cannabis, generally known as marijuana, is a psychoactive narcotic that many people use for recreational purposes as well as for its alleged medicinal benefits. But what do the most recent studies have to say about it? Do the risks outweigh the advantages?
At the time of writing, 36 states and four territories in the United States had legalized cannabis-derived products for medicinal use. In addition, cannabis is legal for recreational use in 18 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia.
Although many people interchangeably use the terms “cannabis” and “marijuana,” the latter has racist roots and implications dating back nearly a century.
According to the Pew Research Center, nine out of ten Americans support legalizing marijuana in some manner. In the same study, 18% of Americans, or 48.2 million people, said they had used cannabis in the previous year, with 11% indicating they had done so in the previous month. Only 46% of those polled said they’ve ever tried cannabis.
People have used cannabis for at least 5,000 years, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And, while overall cannabis use remains constant in the broader population, it is increasing among college students. In 2020, 44% of them said they had used cannabis in the previous year, the highest percentage in over 35 years.
Many people clearly appreciate the euphoric effects of cannabis and use it for recreational purposes. According to the most recent figures, there are 22.2 million recreational users in the United States. Meanwhile, the number of people who use medical cannabis is estimated to be over 5.4 million.
Cannabis research in the U.S.
Cannabis is currently classified as a Schedule I restricted substance in the United States. A substance must have “no currently recognised medicinal use and a high potential for abuse” to be classified at this category.
It’s a contentious classification because it lumps this drug along with heroin, methaqualone, LSD, and MDMA (ecstasy).
This has made doing rigorous clinical cannabis research in the United States challenging, and it might be difficult for the average person to find conclusive information about the health effects of cannabis.
However, with so many states legalizing cannabis, research is picking up speed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expressed its support for clinical trials of medications derived from cannabis components.
Because the FDA is responsible for the research and safety of medical medicines, it has not considered the health consequences of recreational cannabis.
“They have one foot on the accelerator and another on the brake,” Dr. Tom Curran of Upstate Medical University in New York told Medical News Today of the FDA’s position.
Until recently, all cannabis used in research in the United States came from a single source: a growing facility at the University of Mississippi.
The value of using cannabis for research has been questioned by certain specialists. Dr. Sue Sisley, a cannabis researcher, described it as “anemic greenish powder” and said it’s “extremely tough to overcome the placebo effect when you have anything that diluted,” according to NPR.
The cannabis grown at the university is less than half as powerful as the average cannabis accessible today, and even less in the case of extracts like edibles.
As a result, any research based on the University of Mississippi’s research stock may underreport its impacts, whether favorable or negative, increasing to the uncertainty of current studies. As a result, the federal National Institute on Drug Abuse has been in the midst of a lengthy contracting procedure with different vendors since May.
The following institutions, according to Dr. Curran, have publicly called for the removal of such barriers to high-quality cannabis research:
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine
- New England Journal of Medicine
- American Medical Student Association
- American Nurses Association
- American Public Health Association
Medical cannabis research: In search of answers
Whether a person wants to use cannabis for recreational purposes or for medical reasons, it’s natural to want to know if it’s safe to do so. Medical cannabis research, which assesses the advantages and hazards of the drug, is the best source of such knowledge.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) undertook a review in 2017 that looked at over 10,000 scientific publications on the medical benefits and side effects of cannabis that were published in 2016. This study is still the most detailed on the health consequences of marijuana.
Researchers conducted a similar analysis with data from 2016 to 2019 in 2021. “We identified few recent studies completed inside U.S. populations [that] were of considerable rigor and quality to advance the evidence base for numerous clinical disorders,” they concluded.
In this article, we examine the most recent trustworthy studies on cannabis’ medical benefits to determine its health benefits and hazards, in an attempt to answer what appears to be a straightforward question: is cannabis good or bad?
CBD vs. Cannabis
Before we go any further, let’s clear up a common misunderstanding: what is the relationship between cannabis and CBD, both of which are derived from the same plant, Cannabis sativa? Is it possible that they are the same thing?
No, they are not.
There are 450 compounds in Cannabis sativa, including a family of 80–100 molecules known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system in the brain, which controls a number of functions such as mood, sleep, memory, and appetite.
The following are the major cannabinoids found in the plant:
- delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis
- cannabidiol (CBD), which is believed to be anti-psychoactive and may moderate or control anxiety, chronic pain, sleep issues, and addictive impulses
When people refer to cannabis, they are referring to both THC and cannabidiol, as well as any other compound of the cannabis sativa plant.
The FDA has so far approved four medications containing cannabinoids:
- Epidiolex contains a purified form of CBD and treats seizures associated with two types of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndromand Dravet syndrome.
- Marinol and Syndros contain synthetic THC, or dronabinol, and treat post-cancer chemotherapy nausea and vomiting.
- Cesamet contains synthetic nabilone, which is similar to THC and addresses appetite and weight loss in people with HIV.
Hemp is made up of Cannabis sativa plants with very little THC, and it is the source of a lot of CBD. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2019, 14 percent of Americans consume CBD, with sales expected to reach $61 billion by 2027.
Many medical claims have been made in support of CBD, but many of them have yet to be clinically verified, owing to the challenges that cannabis research faces.
What are the medical advantages of marijuana?
Cannabis may be beneficial in the treatment of the following illnesses, according to research.
Pain that lasts a long time
The use of medical cannabis to relieve chronic pain was one of the subjects of the 2017 NAS research.
According to the findings, cannabis or cannabinoid-containing medications can effectively treat neuropathic pain caused by injured nerves.
Beyond that, “there is limited evidence that cannabis works to treat most types of acute or chronic pain,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Depression, PTSD, and social anxiety are all symptoms of depression.
While some have suggested that cannabis can be used as an antidepressant, a study published in 2020 found little evidence to support this theory – in fact, it concluded that the opposite is more likely the case.
The first FDA-approved, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial evaluating cannabis’ effectiveness in treating PTSD was released in March 2021.
It was found that veterans who smoked cannabis had no more improvement in the intensity of their PTSD symptoms than those who took a placebo.
Veterans who smoked cannabis, on the other hand, were 2.57 times more likely to no longer qualify as having PTSD, according to a nonplacebo study published in December 2020.
A study released in April 2021 that included eight small trials looking into the use of cannabis as a treatment for social anxiety concluded that there was insufficient evidence of its effectiveness as an anti-anxiety intervention. Regular cannabis users may be at a greater risk of social anxiety, according to a 2017 NAS study.
It’s also worth noting that, according to a 2017 study published in Clinical Psychology Review, cannabis is not suggested as a treatment for people suffering from psychotic disorders.
In a randomized, controlled research conducted in 2021, it was shown that smoking cannabis on days when alcohol is drunk lowered the quantity of alcohol drank by a third and cut the number of binge-drinking days in half.
However, according to the 2017 NAS assessment, cannabis usage may increase the likelihood of hazardous use and dependency on other substances.
Drugs like Marinol and Syndros, which include cannabinoids, have been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy.
There has been and continues to be a significant amount of research into the use of cannabis in cancer treatment.
It appears to be able to stop cancer cells from growing in vitro and in animals, according to some promising data. Some evidence suggests, however, that cannabis components that kill one type of cancer may promote the growth of another.
At the time of writing, Nabiximols, a medicine combining equal parts THC and cannabidiol and sold around the world as Sativex, is in phase 3 clinical trials in the United States.
The drug is used as a second-line treatment for spasticity symptoms when initial multiple sclerosis medications are ineffective.
However, no clinical benefit from smoking cannabis for treating MS symptoms has been found thus far.
As previously stated, Epidiolex has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
What are the medicinal dangers of marijuana?
Studies that have looked into unfavorable links between cannabis usage and health are on the other end of the spectrum.
Mental health issues
Anecdotal evidence suggests that consuming cannabis can assist people suffering from bipolar disorder (BD) manage their symptoms.
However, there is a growing body of research linking it to more severe bipolar episodes, as well as psychotic symptoms, rapid mood cycling, suicide attempts, a decrease in long-term BD remission, greater impairment, and overall poorer functioning.
Fortunately, these associations only endure as long as people smoke cannabis.
A June 2021 NIH research of persons aged 18–35 years discovered a clear link between cannabis use and increased suicide ideation and attempts, particularly among women. Whether or not the person was depressed before to using cannabis had no influence.
THC may cause schizophrenia and psychosis in people at risk, according to a meta-study of available studies published in 2020. There was some evidence that CBD can help with some illnesses’ symptoms.
The analyses’ main conclusion was that more research is needed to better understand the connection between cannabis and these illnesses.
In a 2017 research of people with schizophrenia and other psychoses, it was discovered that a history of cannabis usage was connected to increased performance on learning and memory tests.
A study published in January 2021 by the University of Queensland looked into how using cannabis on a regular basis can alter people’s life. According to the findings, people who smoked daily or weekly were more likely to:
- partake in high risk alcohol consumption
- smoke cigarettes
- take other illicit drugs
- not be in a relationship at 35 years of age
- be depressed
- not have a job
Cannabis use disorder
While cannabis is not typically addictive, there is evidence that the more people use it, the more likely they are to develop a dependent on it, a condition known as “cannabis use disorder.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three out of every ten cannabis smokers develops the disorder, and this is especially true among young people.
Lung and testicular cancer
The 2017 NAS study found evidence of an increased risk of testicular cancer’s slow-growing seminoma subtype.
Other compounds in smoke, such as benzopyrene, benzanthracene, vinyl chlorides, phenols, and nitrosamines, may have contributed to this, according to more recent research.
The study suggests that more epidemiological research into the probable link to cannabis is needed, with smoke-free vaping as an ingestion vehicle being considered.
When cannabis is smoked rather than eaten or vaped, the same chemicals may increase the risk of lung cancer. The National Institute of Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, on the other hand, reports that there is little persuasive evidence of a link between cannabis and lung cancer:
“While a few small, uncontrolled studies have suggested that heavy, regular [cannabis] smoking could increase [the] risk for respiratory cancers, well-designed population studies have failed to find an increased risk of lung cancer associated with [cannabis] use.”
Although regular cannabis use has been related to an increased risk of chronic cough, it is unclear if smoking cannabis affects lung function or raises the risk of COPD or asthma.
Is cannabis healthy for your health or dangerous for your health?
Both the health benefits and the negative consequences of cannabis have been documented. It’s also clear that some statements about the drug’s effects are exaggerated at best and incorrect at worst.
While many people enjoy smoking cannabis for recreational purposes, more and better study is clearly needed to properly comprehend its health implications.
Before taking cannabis, if you reside in a state where it is legal, you and your doctor should carefully assess the different claimed advantages and hazards, as well as how they apply to your diagnosis and health history.
Additionally, always see your doctor before starting any new medication.
Alcohol and migraine: What you need to understand
Many people with migraine find that specific situations trigger their symptoms. Drinking alcohol is a trigger for some people with migraine. Although any type of alcohol can provoke a migraine, people who experience recurrent migraine attacks cite red wine as the most frequent reason.
Research suggests that people with migraine may also suffer comparable symptoms after a hangover. Reducing or eliminating alcohol may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. It may also help reduce factors that tend to co-occur with drinking, such as dehydration and sleep deprivation.
Keep reading to understand more about the connection between migraine and headache.
Is alcohol capable of causing migraines?
Migraine is a form of neurological disorder. Although hereditary factors impact the chance of developing migraine, environmental triggers can cause episodes or increase their frequency.
Several studies show that alcohol, especially red wine, may cause migraine episodes.
In a 2018 research including 2,197 adults with migraine, 25% of the participants who had discontinued or always avoided drinking did so because alcohol induced migraine symptoms. More than a third of the subjects stated that alcohol had this impact, with roughly 78% indicating red wine as the most prevalent alcohol trigger.
A 2019 research questioned patients with migraine who consumed alcohol. Of the 1,547 individuals, 783 claimed that alcohol was a trigger, while 195 were not sure. People who experienced migraine with alcohol were more likely to suffer migraine with aura and to experience more migraine days and more frequent episodes. They were also more prone to drink vodka.
A predisposition for migraine may also play a role in hangovers, especially hangovers that induce migraine-like headaches. A 2014 study of 692 students, 95 of whom experienced migraine, indicated that individuals with migraine were more likely to suffer migraine-like symptoms during a hangover. However, these people were not more prone to other hangover symptoms.
Alcohol may also create other sorts of headaches. People who get a headache after drinking should not assume that it is a migraine, especially if they have symptoms associated with other forms of headaches. For example, a stress headache may induce pain in the neck or shoulders.
Other alcohol-related headaches
Migraine creates a unique form of headache that incorporates neurological symptoms such as light sensitivity and aura. Other sorts of headaches, including severe headaches, can occur as a result of alcohol intake.
A headache is a frequent hangover symptom. Alcohol can provoke symptoms in persons with a headache disease, but it can also directly induce headaches.
A 2015 study shows that the inactivity of alcohol dehydrogenase 2, an enzyme that helps break down alcohol, can contribute to hangover headaches. However, the research author also notes that no one factor causes all hangover headaches.
A 2016 study emphasizes that drinking may induce a tension headache, especially if a person simultaneously suffers migraine. The research revealed that 21 percent of persons with migraine indicate that alcohol is a tension headache trigger, compared with just 2 percent of people without migraine.
Alcohol may provoke cluster headaches. These headaches induce very strong pain that generally predominantly affects the region behind one eye. More than half of individuals who get cluster headaches indicate that alcohol is a trigger.
Alcohol increases urine, which can contribute to dehydration. Moreover, persons who drink alcohol may not drink as much water, exacerbating the water loss. Dehydration can induce headaches. It may also provoke headaches connected to headache diseases, such as migraine.
What alcohol to consume to avoid migraine attacks
However, a 2012 research denies this relationship. This prospective research looked at migraine diaries extending up to 90 days. Wine, beer, and spirits did not enhance the risk of migraine with aura, while sparkling wine did.
People who have hangovers that induce a migraine may desire to avoid alcohol with high amounts of congeners. These are compounds that the alcohol production process creates. Some study shows that congeners have a role in hangovers, however variables like as inflammation also contribute.
Brandy, red wine, and rum have the largest quantities of congeners, whereas gin and vodka have fewer of these compounds. However, a 2019 study reported greater rates of vodka use among drinkers with recurrent migraine symptoms. The reaction to alcohol varies from person to person, and there is no drink that certainly will not trigger a migraine or other headache.
Other migraine-prevention options
Identifying and limiting or eliminating common migraine triggers such as alcohol, dehydration, and specific meals is the first step in preventing migraine. For a few weeks, a person should keep a migraine diary to detect trends in their headache patterns.
Stress-related migraines may be relieved with relaxation techniques, and migraine episodes may feel less severe when they occur.
Migraine prophylaxis drugs such as topiramate (Topamax), divalproex (Depakote), or propranolol may be useful for people who suffer frequent migraine attacks (Inderal). They can talk to a doctor about these therapy alternatives.
People who suffer from migraines while or after drinking may consider limiting or eliminating alcohol from their diet. If they find this too difficult, they may be suffering from an alcohol use disorder, which need therapy.
Migraine attacks can range from minor inconveniences to complete debilitation. The most severe migraine headaches can last up to three days and render you unable to work. In rare cases, a migraine attack can persist much longer.
Migraine is a complicated disorder, and migraine-like symptoms can be caused by a variety of neurological conditions. As a result, whether you’re drinking or not, it’s critical to consult a doctor if you’re experiencing migraine symptoms or chronic headaches. Migraine headaches can be treated with the appropriate combination of medicines and lifestyle changes.
People who are unable to stop drinking should consult a physician about alcohol use disorder treatment, which is a serious but treatable problem.