The number of alcohol-related deaths has grown rapidly in recent decades, according to a new analysis of death certificates, NBC News reports. The research, published Wednesday in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, is from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health.
The yearly total of alcohol-related deaths for people ages 16 and over more than doubled, from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017. There were almost 1 million such deaths overall in that time.
While middle-age men accounted for the majority of those deaths, women — especially white women — are catching up, the study found. That's concerning in part because women's bodies tend to be more susceptible to the effects of alcohol.
"Women are at greater risk than men at comparable levels of alcohol exposure for alcohol-related cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, alcohol-related liver disease and acute liver failure due to excessive drinking," the study authors wrote.