April is National Alcohol Awareness Month

Four Corners Health Department would like to take some time to pass along some health tips related to alcohol use. It is a known fact that too much alcohol can be bad for our body. According to the National Institutes of Health, “An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity.”

Let’s look at some of these health problems closer:

1) Alcohol can cause liver disease. Nearly half of all deaths from liver disease are a result of alcohol use. Deaths in liver disease from alcohol happens in males more often than females. Liver diseases caused by alcohol leads to one out of every three people needing a liver transplant.

2) Drinking alcohol raises the risk of cancers in the mouth, digestive tract, liver, and even breast.

3) Drinking too much can also lead to problems such as dementia or heart disease.

4) Many don’t realize that drinking in the summertime heat can quickly lead to dehydration and even heat stroke.

5) Alcohol use also can contribute to risky behavior. Car accidents, falls, and drownings can happen when someone drinks too much alcohol. In 2014, nearly 10,000 people were killed in the U.S as a result of people driving and being impaired with alcohol. That is 31% of all driving deaths. Also, alcohol can lead to risky sexual behavior which may result in an unwanted pregnancy or cause a sexually transmitted disease. Violence like homicide, suicide, or sexual assault may even happen because of too much alcohol.

So how much alcohol is too much? The standard serving size of an alcoholic drink has about 14 grams of alcohol. Types of alcoholic drinks have different amount of sizes, just like food. One serving of beer is 12 ounces, one serving of wine is 5 ounces, and hard alcohol like Vodka, Rum and Whisky is just 1.5 ounces. For men, too much alcohol use can be 5 or more drinks at one time or 15 or more drinks per week. For women it is 4 or more drinks at one time and 8 or more drinks per week. The best plan is to avoid alcohol completely if you are going to be driving or operating any machinery. Any alcohol used by pregnant women is too much because of the risks to the unborn baby. Also, any alcohol use by those under 21 years of age is too much.

For more information please visit: cdc.gov/alcohol/, talkaboutalcohol.org, and fourcorners.ne.gov.