GBD-study estimates the number of alcohol related deaths in the Netherlands at more than 8,300

10 November 2020

In the Netherlands, it is estimated that more than 8,300 deaths in 2019 were partly attributable to alcohol use. These data result from a very extensive risk analysis in the context of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 (GBD) by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. The results were published last October in an appendix to the reputable journal The Lancet.

The estimated number of more than 8,300 deaths in 2019, partly as a result of alcohol consumption, is considerably higher than a recent estimate of the RIVM, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. For 2017, the RIVM mentioned about 1,900 Dutch alcohol deaths aged 20 and older. The IHME researchers are relying on information from the World Health Organization Mortality Database, using the cause of death statistics from Statistics Netherlands. There is, however, a different classification of death causes.

Most of the deaths that can be attributed to alcohol according to the GBD researchers, namely 3,494, are cancers. For example, alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for colon cancer (1,140 deaths), esophageal cancer (854 deaths) and breast cancer (604 deaths). It also concerns cancer of the lips and mouth, the pharynx, the larynx and the liver.

Alcohol consumption is also a risk factor for death from certain cardiovascular diseases, such as cerebral hemorrhage and cardiomyopathy (1,340 deaths), and diseases of the liver, such as cirrhosis (1,303 deaths). In addition, there are an estimated 568 deaths from alcohol-related lung infections and tuberculosis. Alcohol addiction is responsible for 480 deaths. Finally, alcohol consumption is a risk factor for fatal accidents, for example in traffic and falls, but also for self-injury, suicide and violence.

The researchers also calculated how much death was avoided as a result of alcohol consumption. According to some studies, very moderate use has a mild protective effect in some population groups against certain diseases and thus prevents death. The avoided mortality due to alcohol consumption in the Netherlands in 2019 was, according to the GBD researchers, about 670 cases of ischemic heart disease and about 100 cases of diabetes.

GBD 2019 Risk Factors Collaborators. Global burden of 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories, 1990–2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet 396 (2020), 1223–1249. Supplementary appendix 2b (Part 2 of 2).



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