X-rated boozing

Colin Shevills
Colin Shevills

SHOPPERS in Hartlepool will be given x-ray vision to see the hidden danger of boozing.

Experts from the alcohol awareness group Balance spent the first of four days in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre today to spread the word about the dangers of over-indulgence.

Shoppers will come face-to-face with a life sized x-ray of a human body. It shows the places where alcohol-related diseases could strike and that could be anything from strokes to heart attacks and dementia, as well as mouth, throat and liver cancer.

Balance officials will offer advice and hand out information and will be based in the shopping centre until next Tuesday.

They’re spreading the word about the dangers at a time when Balance research shows two in five North East people are drinking at or above the Government’s recommended limits which are 2-3 units a day for a woman and 3-4 units for a man.

And they’re doing it almost every day, say the experts.

Balance director Colin Shevills said: “We know the majority of people across the region understand that drinking alcohol is linked to health conditions such as liver and heart disease.

“But they may not appreciate that most people who suffer from health problems because of their drinking are not alcoholics or binge drinkers but those who drink every day, or almost every day, over a number of years.

“Many suffer few immediate consequences, but over time it takes its toll. Too many of us are drinking more than we should on a regular basis.

“At the same time, rates of death from alcohol related liver disease are increasing and alcohol specific hospital admissions are higher than the national average.”

Balance’s aim in Hartlepool is to get people to drink within the recommended limits and reduce their risk of alcohol-related conditions.

Colin added: “It’s easier to stay within the limits when you keep track of how much you are drinking.

“People are often surprised to find out how much they drinking on a daily or almost daily basis as it is fairly common for us to underestimate how much we consume. Keeping a drinks diary is a perfect way to take stock and is a first step towards living a healthier life.”

DRINKING - THE FACTS

l Men who regularly drink more than the recommended limits could be four times more likely to have high blood pressure

l Women who regularly drink more than the recommended limits could be three times more likely to suffer a stroke

l Anyone who succeeds the recommended limits could be up to five times more likely to develop cancers of the mouth and throat.

l Safe drinking limits are 2-3 units a day, or roughly a standard glass and a half of wine, for a woman and 3-4 units, or about two pints of regular strength beer or lager, for a man.

l North-East people wanting more information on safe drinking should call (0191) 2613803 or visit www.balancenortheast.co.uk/harm to find out more and request a free information booklet.