During the holiday season, people tend to consume more alcohol. Although you may have heard that moderate consumption of alcohol protects against cardiovascular disease, this generally only refers to those people over the age of 45.

More men die as a result of alcohol than are saved by moderate alcohol intake. In fact, alcohol is second only to tobacco as the greatest cause of death and disease in Australia.

Short-term abuse of alcohol puts you at risk of alcohol poisoning, injury and overdose. Chronic long-term use can cause cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, brain damage and memory loss. Alcohol is also a known risk factor for cancer, accounting for about three per cent of cancers.

Alcohol can also have a serious effect on others, as its use leads to incidents such as road trauma caused by drink-driving and alcohol-related violence. Alcohol abuse is also associated with crime, social problems and lost productivity. So remember, even though alcohol is widely available, it can be dangerous. Use it wisely.

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