How To Manage Your Alcohol Consumption
It’s easy to overstep the mark when it comes to your alcohol consumption, as the odd drink down the pub can easily turn into more. For men, the advised amount is no more than 21 units of alcohol each week, and no more than four units in a day, with at least two alcohol-free days in a week. For women, it’s advised that they drink no more than 14 units of alcohol, and no more than three units in any one day, with at least two alcohol-free days each week. Naturally, pregnant women should aim to not drink any alcohol at all, as it can damage the health of your unborn baby, but if you do drink it should be no more than one to two units of alcohol once or twice a week – under no circumstances should you get drunk. The Royal College of Physicians advises that the frequency of your drinking should also be taken into account, as there is an increased risk of liver disease for those who drink daily or almost daily, compared to those who only drink from time to time. There are some people who believe that the upper recommendations are too high and that they carry a risk – for example, studies have proven that more than two units a day for men and more than one for women can significantly increase the risk of developing certain cancers. This is because your liver can’t process large quantities of alcohol, so it leads to damage in the cells which produce toxic by-product chemicals. There is a greater risk of health problems associated with alcohol the more you drink, particularly if you drink more than the advised amount. Binge drinking can be more harmful to your body too, even though you may be keeping within the weekly quota – this is because you’re forcing your body to break down large amounts of alcohol in one go. There are some supposed health benefits to drinking though.
For men over the age of 40, and for women past the menopause, it’s believed that a small amount of alcohol can help to protect against heart disease and stroke. While researchers are still unclear on the amount, a small amount is thought to be beneficial. Around one in three men and about one in seven women drink more than the advised amounts. Most people who drink heavily aren’t addicted to alcohol and could stop if they needed to. But for many reasons, people become used to the habit of drinking so they maintain fairly high levels of drinking on a regular basis. It’s important that children are warned of the effects of alcohol early on so that they have a good understanding of the risks involved. If you drink heavily, you increase your risk of hepatitis, certain cancers, stomach disorders, cirrhosis of the liver, mental health problems, sexual dysfunction, pancreatitis, muscle and heart disease, high blood pressure, damage to the nervous tissue, obesity and accidents. Around 33,000 deaths in the UK are attributed to drinking, with a quarter of these due to accidents. If you’re trying to tackle the problem of heavy drinking there are various ways in which you can do this. Once people know the facts about drinking and what is safe, most people revert to healthy drinking habits. You could try to opt for low-alcohol beers to keep your consumption levels down, and try to pace your drinking out – you could do this by alternating with soft drinks. If you eat when you drink, you may find you drink less – eating before drinking is also advised, so that you’re not drinking on an empty stomach.
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