Huge study proves drinking and smoking does make you look older

If you still don’t know – smoking and drinking too much will literally make you look older. Researchers from Denmark found that there is a relationship between indulging in these unhealthy habits and early signs of aging. Heavy smokers and drinkers were more likely to develop wrinkly skin and have gray rings around the cornea earlier than average. If you consider yourself a heavy smoker or drinker, read on and thank us later.

Behind the study

Published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the Copenhagen City Heart Study followed a sample of random individuals in 1981 to 1983; 1991 to 1994; and 2001 to 2003. The 11.5-year study, which began in 1976, followed approximately 11,500 people aged 21 to 86 years old. It is the first study to show that alcohol and smoking are directly associated to signs of aging which may be a cause for higher rates of cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases.

The participants were interviewed about their lifestyles and their current health state, and were asked about their smoking and drinking habits. Data collected from the participants reported that the average alcohol consumption of women was at 2.6 drinks per week, and 11.4 for men. Fifty-seven percent of the total number of women and 67 percent of the men were smokers.

The researchers noted the following visible signs of early aging, which were linked with cardiovascular ill health and death: earlobe creases, arcus corneae, xanthelasmata, and male pattern baldness. Among the signs, arcus corneae, or a gray-colored ring around the cornea of both eyes, was the most common. Sixty percent of the men and over 70 percent of the women developed arcus corneae. Xanthelasma, or yellow-orange plaques on the eyelids, were the least common.

The numbers are grim

Women who drank 28 or more drinks per week had a 33 percent higher chance of developing arcus corneae, and men who consumed 35 or more drinks weekly had a 35 percent heightened risk of the same aging sign. In terms of smoking, one pack of 20 cigarettes daily for 15 years had a 41 percent higher risk or arcus corneae in women and 12 percent in men. Study showed that male pattern baldness was not consistently in line with heavy drinking or smoking, since it is strongly influenced by genetics and the circulation of male hormones.

If you have these bad habits, you might want to consider the following:

  • If you still didn’t know, smoking and drinking too much alcohol cause cancer and a number of other chronic diseases.
  • There are more than seven million deaths yearly because of cigarette smoking, including more than 890,000 deaths from second-hand smoke.
  • In 2012, 3.3 million deaths around the world were attributed to alcohol consumption.
  • Tobacco kills up to 50 percent of all users.
  • Alcohol abuse may cause mental disorders.
  • The more you drink and smoke, the poorer you become (from buying it and from medical expenses that result from it).

Most of us are constantly concerned with our looks, and we routinely use beauty and bath products to mask the signs. For most heavy drinkers and smokers, cutting back on smoking and drinking may be too difficult. It is necessary, however, since a lot of studies have shown that the two habits greatly increase an individual’s risk of developing chronic diseases. Total abandonment of drinking alcohol and smoking helps a person live a long, healthy life, and will stop the early progression of these age-related issues.

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