Are you alcohol aware?
It’s Alcohol Awareness Week from 17-23 November – a week designated to raise awareness of alcohol issues and its implications on our health and communities. Know your limits and stay aware with these drinking facts and stats …
Not all drinks are created equal
You might be aware of the maximum units of alcohol we should be drinking each week (that’s 3-4 units per day for men and 2-3 for women) but many of us don’t know what this translates to in real life.
As well as paying attention to the volume you are drinking, it’s important to take note of the strength of your drink by checking the ABV (alcohol by volume), which measures how much alcohol is in your drink. The higher the percentage, the stronger the drink, so the less you should consume. Men should drink no more than a pint and a half of 4% beer to stay below the daily recommended units of alcohol, while women should limit their intake to just one 13% ABV 175ml glass of wine, or stick to an 11% ABV if opting for a large (250ml) glass.
Drink driving is always a risk
In the UK you are over the drink drive limit if you have 80 milligrams of alcohol in your body for every 100 millilitres of blood, or 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. However, it’s impossible to calculate how much alcohol you can drink and stay safe behind the wheel.
The way alcohol affects you depends on a number of factors including your weight, age, gender, metabolism, the type of alcohol you’ve been drinking, your stress levels and what you have recently eaten. A study by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) also indicated that one small beer or glass of wine – although likely to only raise a driver’s blood alcohol concentration to 50 micrograms per 100ml of blood, or half the legal limit – makes the chance of a fatal accident three times higher than that of a driver who has drunk no alcohol.
Alcohol can have wide-ranging effects
While most of us know alcohol can have devastating effects on the liver, it also has many lesser-known implications for our health and is believed to be a causal factor in more than 60 medical conditions. Long term, it increases the risk of developing a long list of conditions including breast cancer, oral cancers, heart disease, diabetes, mental health problems and reduced fertility. According to Alcohol Concern, alcohol misuse costs England approximately £21bn per year in healthcare, crime and lost productivity costs.
A high alcohol intake (more than the recommended limits) can also lead to everyday problems, including digestive problems, cellulite, disrupted sleep, a poor complexion, memory problems and weight gain. Visit drinkaware.co.uk to find out the potential impact of your drinking and ways to reduce your alcohol consumption.