Although drinking in moderation is safe for most people, drinking in the first place is a risk in itself. An estimated 5.3 million women in the United States drink in a way that threatens their health, safety and overall well-being. (3)
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, moderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system, and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones. (5) But heaving drinking can lead to damage of the liver and heart, damage an unborn child, increase the changes of breast cancer and other types of cancer, contribute to depression and violence, and interfere with personal relationships.
The definition of “drinking in moderation” will differ depending on your gender and potentially your weight. For a woman or anyone over the age of 65, it is recommended to limit to 1 drink per day. For a man or anyone under 65 years of age, is recommended to limit with 2 drinks per day. (1)
On average, women weigh less than men and have less water in their bodies than men do. When a man and a woman of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration tends to be higher which will increase the risk of harm to her body. (4)
People of Asian ancestry possess a gene variant for enzymes involved in metabolizing alcohol. The ‘facial flush’ is caused by the inability to break down enzymes involved in alcohol metabolism, which results in physical reactions such as a facial flush caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the face. (3)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Alcohol and Public Health)
(1)Medline Plus (2013). Alcohol. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/alcohol.html
(2) Medline Plus (2013). Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fetalalcoholspectrumdisorders.html
(3) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2008). Alcohol A Women’s Health Issue. Retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochurewomen/women.htm
(4) Rethinking Drinking Alcohol and Your Health from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2013). Q & As. Retrieved from http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/questionsanswers/default.asp
(5) Harvard School of Public Health (n.d). Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits. Retrieved from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/alcohol-full-story/
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