My sister can always be relied on for interesting articles. She forwarded one today from Business Insider titled “A New Study Suggests That People Who Don’t Drink Alcohol Are More Likely To Die Young.” Spoiler alert: stop reading now if your intent is, in fact, to die young.
The article states that in a 20-year study, of the 1,824 participants, only 41% of the moderate (1-3 glasses per day) drinkers died prematurely compared to 69% of the non-drinkers. Of the heavy drinkers, only 60% died prematurely. A theorized explanation? “Nondrinkers have been shown to demonstrate greater signs of depression than their carousing counterparts, and in addition to the potential heart health and circulation benefits of moderate drinking (especially red wine), it also increases sociability.” More specifically, “strong social networks are essential for maintaining mental and physical health.”
How does this relate to UC (or Crohn’s)? Well namely, support networks. As a lurker on different blogs and forums, a theme I come across commonly is how IBD has caused sufferers to lose friends–in rare instances, all of their friends–because the disease has removed them from their social life. Interestingly, a lot of people who post complain that not being able to imbibe is a big factor in their friends not wanting to hang with them anymore. (These friends suck, just sayin’). BUT, what I’m interested to know is – what’s the correlation between the non-drinkers in the study and oh, say, autoimmune disease or other conditions that prohibit them from consuming alcohol? Perhaps they’d love to drink but the medication they’re on won’t permit it. Perhaps they have IBD and alcohol exacerbates it. Perhaps, ahem, their premature death has everything to do with a pre-existing illness or condition, and nothing to do with not drinking?
Now, I’m not saying we IBD sufferers will die prematurely. Though we do have an increased risk of colon cancer. And, drugs like Remicade and Imuran are considered “carcinogenic.” (You can always rely on me to cheer you up.) The moral of the story? I suppose if we can imbibe we should, and no matter what, we should work to build strong support networks regardless of whether we can knock a few back. Any friends we lose as we battle this disease weren’t real friends to begin with, those we gain are silver, and the ones that remain by our sides are gold.