It’s a well-documented fact that chronic consumption of excessive alcohol can affect health in many ways. The diseases associated with excessive alcoholism range from heart conditions, stroke, live cirrhosis, hypertension, digestive problems to various cancers, depression, anxiety and other learning problems.
The management of alcohol-related problems depends on inter-sectorial coordinated efforts with legislation and control by the government about sale and access to alcohol based on the research and policy directives from the public health professionals. Medical professionals also play an essential role not only in treating the health outcomes of the harmful alcohol consumption but also as the primary source to identify people at risk. A recently conducted study concluded that the identification of hazardous and harmful alcoholism in hypertensive patients could prevent long-term detrimental effects on health and save hundreds of lives across Europe.
For the study data from primary care services from five European countries including Germany, Spain, UK, France, and Italy, was analyzed. It was found that one intervention encompassing screening for alcohol problems and brief advice about hazards of alcoholism for people with hypertension in primary health care can significantly control blood pressure and decrease the risk of premature deaths from non-communicable – or chronic – diseases including heart diseases and gastrointestinal diseases. It was also shown that if the reduction strategies for the major risk factors such as tobacco use are also combined with the advice about alcohol use, then European countries can achieve the exceed the global indicator of 25% decline in premature deaths from non-communicable diseases.
The physicians in the primary health care setting can further enhance the provision of health care advice by cueing patients to raise concerns about their drinking themselves. It can be done through posters and brochures in the clinic waiting area and exam rooms. When a patient self- identifies a medical concern, it is more likely to gather better patient involvement and be addressed and resolved more efficiently as compared to concerns raised by their health care provider.