Is Alcohol Good for Your Health?

Topics: Alcohol, Alcoholic beverage, Stroke Pages: 8 (1990 words) Published: October 7, 2010
Is alcohol good for your health?
For many reasons, this is a question without simple or clear-cut answers. Humans have used alcohol safely and enjoyably for thousands of years, and it continue to occupy an important place in many religious ceremonies and social celebrations. In addition, moderate alcohol use can provide certain health benefits, particularly with regard to coronary heart disease.

However, alcohol consumption is also associated with serious risks. Drinking too much alcohol contributes to accidents and injuries and can lead to liver disease, certain types of stroke, high blood pressure, various cancers, and birth defects, among other health problems. Thus, understanding the possible risks and benefits of alcohol is essential to make an informed decision about alcohol use. DEFINITIONS

In general, studies that evaluate the health effects of alcohol designate different drinking patterns (eg, heavy, moderate, or light drinking) based upon the number of drinks consumed per day or week. Alcoholic drinks come in multiple forms and contain differing amounts of pure alcohol (ethanol); one portion of alcohol is defined as approximately 10 to 15 grams of ethanol, which can be found in one 12 ounce bottle or can of beer, one 5 ounce serving of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.

The specific ranges used to describe different drinking patterns vary depending upon the study in question. Generally, moderate alcohol intake is defined as three to nine drinks per week.  
Multiple studies suggest that various levels of alcohol use, or abstaining from drinking, affect the risk of certain health conditions. Low risk
Drinking small amounts of alcohol can be a pleasant social activity for many people. Indeed drinking small quantities of alcohol can reduce the risk of heart disease for older people if it does not conflict with any medication being taken. The following information is based on units of alcohol. One unit of alcohol contains about 10g of alcohol and is roughly equivalent to: 1 bottle (250ml) of ordinary strength beer (4 - 5 % alcohol) 1 glass (100ml) of wine

1 small glass of vodka (25mg of vodka)
But beware: Drinks often contain two or more units in a single glass. If you drink up to two units a day of alcohol free from impurities there is little chance of any risk to your health. If you regularly drink more than two units a day there is an increasing risk to your health. If you drink more than four units in any one day there is an increased risk of injury and accidents as well as an increasing risk to your health.

High risk
As the amount we drink and the number of times we drink increases, then so do the risks.

The risks to you:
Raised blood pressure which increases the risk of Stroke; stomach disorders; depression and emotional disorders; cancers, particularly of the mouth, throat and gullet; hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver; malnutrition; accidents, at home, at work and on the roads; suicide.

The risks to your family:
Violence, accidents (perhaps influenced by you); less to spend on food; poor role model for children; increased risk of divorce. If you are pregnant you can damage your baby by drinking alcohol.

If you don't drink alcohol don't start.
If you do drink alcohol you can lower your health risks by cutting down or even stopping now. If you drink less you will be less at risk from major illnesses, you will be less at risk from violence and accidents, you will feel more healthy, and you will influence your family's healthy lifestyle. Risks of Drinking Too Much

There are certain risks associated with drinking too much:
Blacking out and not remembering what you did while you were drunk. •Passing out in an unfamiliar place or a place where your safety could be at risk. •Decreased inhibitions resulting in embarrassing and dangerous behaviour. •A hangover which includes: nausea,...
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