Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alcohol and Women

How does a girl know when she is drinking too much? The National Institutes of Health have determined that women who drink more than 3 drinks on any day, or more than 7 drinks per week fall into the “heavy” or “at-risk” drinking category. Why is this a particular problem for women?

Research tells us that women start to have more alcohol-related issues at lower levels than men. Partly this is due to women’s relatively lower weight compared to men. Further, alcohol disperses in body water, and pound for pound women have less water in their bodies than men do. If a man and a woman of equal weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration will tend to be higher. This can put her at risk for harm.

Although many of the health risks associated with alcohol are not restricted to women, women are more vulnerable because of the reasons sited earlier. The damage from too much alcohol can affect many systems:
· Alcohol is a neurotoxin and destroys brain tissue in men and women.
· Heavy drinking causes heartburn, pancreatitis, liver disease and gastritis. Just about
everywhere that alcohol touches in the gastrointestinal system, from the mouth to the
rectum, rates of cancer are increased in heavy drinkers.
· Alcohol weakens the immune system making one more susceptible to pneumonia,
septicemia and tuberculosis.
· The heart becomes enlarged after years of heavy drinking, compromising its ability to
contract.
· Breast cancer has been linked to heavy drinking in women.
· Pregnant women may cause potentially serious effects on their unborn child by consuming
alcohol.

The Coleman Institute offers a screening consultation for those who are concerned about their own or a loved one’s drinking habits. Our out-patient detox for alcohol allows the client a safe, friendly and discrete environment to get help. Call today if we can answer any questions.

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