April 24, 2013

Alcohol: Low Risk vs High Risk Drinking Defined


The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have defined drinking patterns and their accompanying risks.  A major nationwide survey of 43,000 US adults by the NIH shows that only 2 in 100 people who drink within both the single-day and weekly limits established have alcoholism or alcohol abuse:
  • MEN: no more than 4 drinks on any day and no more than 14 drinks per week
  • WOMEN: no more than 3 drinks on any day and no more than 7 drinks per week

Low risk

"Low risk" is defined as staying within both single-day and weekly limits.  It is not the same as no-risk.  Women's limits are lower due to lower body weight.  Alcohol is safest to avoid altogether if you are taking medications that interact with alcohol, managing certain medical conditions, underage, planning to drive a vehicle or operate machinery, or are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

At risk 

For healthy adults in general, "at-risk" or "heavy drinking" involves drinking more than the stated limits.  It is estimated that about 1 in 4 people who exceed these limits already has alcoholism or alcohol abuse and the rest are at greater risk for developing thee and other problems.  The more drinks on any day (heavy drinking days) and the more heavy drinking days over time, the greater the risk.

Source: rethinking drinking, niaaa.nih.gov

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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