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Could Binge Drinking be putting University Students at Risk

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Teen DrinkingA study has found that binge drinking in young adults can still pose significant health risks.

It is no secret that alcohol is an enormous part of university life. For many students, hangovers and other alcohol related illness are just brushed aside. Students often believe that being young will prevent any serious or long term health problems associated with alcohol.

New research printed in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that, despite this belief, youth is no protection against alcohol related illness. “Regular binge drinking is one of the most serious public health problems confronting college campuses, and drinking has become more pervasive and destructive” says professor Shane Phillips of the University of Illinois, Chicago.

More than half of university students are expected to regularly binge drink as part of the exuberant party culture that surrounds higher education. With some students particularly attending university to purely party and focus less on education, if at all, these results are an unsurprisingly but unpleasant confirmation of what some already consider as fact.

The latest study was based around two separate groups of students attending the university of Illinois, with both groups being comprised of non-smokers.

The study defined binge drinking as an individual consuming over five standard drinks (such as a pint of beer or glass of wine) over the course of two hours for men and four drinks for women, the students were questioned further regarding their medical history, diet and family history.

Results of the questioning and testing discovered that those students that were classified as binge drinkers suffered from impaired function of two key cell types: Endothelium and smooth muscle. These are responsible for controlling blood flow throughout the body. Problems with these cells can cause hardening of the bodies arteries and put the person at risk of strokes and heart attacks.

“It is important that young adults understand that binge drinking patterns are an extreme form of unhealthy or at-risk drinking and are associated with serious social and medical consequences” states Professor Mariann Piano, co-author of the study.

“Discoveries and advances in many different areas of medical science have cautioned against the notion that youth protects against the adverse effects of bad lifestyle behaviours or choices.”

Despite this research pushing the promotion of proper awareness of the dangers of heavy drinking in young adults, it is certain that many still consider themselves exempt from many various health issues due to their age. As with all drug and alcohol related issues, awareness and education are key to solving this problem.

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I am an avid writer new to the Lifeworks team. Fascinated by the psychology and science behind issues such as addiction and eating disorders, I am privileged to be able to share my findings with a wider audience.

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