Sponsored Editorial: Produced in association with Kent County Council
With Covid restrictions continuing to affect our lifestyles, an easily accessible app is on hand this Dry January to help people who feel they need to cut back how much alcohol they are drinking.
Health experts are concerned that the restrictions may mean some people are drinking more at home and may not be aware of their alcohol intake levels.
Estimates show the majority of people (75%) drink sensibly and in safe limits but in Kent, 288,433 people are drinking above the recommended safe limits - with 23% at increasing or higher risk and 2% are dependent on alcohol.
It helps Kent residents to self-assess their drinking using a simple questionnaire which then either directs people to the app which can track their alcohol consumption and provides tips to help them cut down, or signposts those who require professional help to their local support services.
Kent County Council Public Health Consultant Jess Mookerjee said: “People often underestimate how much they are drinking and it’s very easy to go over the safe limits, especially at the moment when national restrictions mean we’re drinking at home and these can often be unmeasured amounts which quickly add up.
“The ‘Lower My Drinking’ app will support people who may be concerned that they are drinking more - this will help them to keep track and reduce levels if they feel it is having an effect on the short term health (both physically and mentally), work and relationships.”
There are a range of services available in Kent to help people to get the treatment they need including One You Kent Lifestyle services in the community that can support people if they need further help to cut back.
Mark Cummings, One You Kent Locality Lead said: “A healthy lifestyle is a key factor for preventing illness. One You Lifestyle advisers will spend time discussing any concerns you have including alcohol and the effects that drinking too much could be having on your health and wellbeing.”
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and also trigger an irregular heartbeat, both of which increase the risk of having a stroke.
It is also a risk factor for some cancers, particularly head and neck cancers and breast cancer.
Heavy drinking increases the risk of having a stroke by more than three times. By drinking sensibly and to the recommended limits, you will reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Jess Mookherjee added: “We want more people to get the support they need at the right time. People who are affected by alcohol addiction do not have to suffer alone, we want them to get help.
If people are drinking because they are depressed we urge them to see their GPs or contact Live Well Kent.
"For those who think they are drinking too much and might be hurting themselves or loved ones, or having trouble keeping their lives in control, we urge them to be aware of how much they are drinking because alcohol related harm is largely preventable.”