Jun 27, 2014
Are You a Heavy Drinker? You’d be Surprised
The definition of ‘heavy drinker’ has evolved over the last 20 years and is based on scientific evidence about the harmful consequences of drinking too much”
Women are considered “heavy drinkers” if they have eight or more drinking a week, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Men can have 14 before they fall under the label.
One in 10 deaths among adults between the ages of 20 and 64 are due to excessive alcohol consumption, the CDC says in a report released Wednesday. That means that some 88,000 people die a year as a result of drinking too much. The majority of those are men—about 70%.
The definition is different for women because women's bodies are typically smaller than men's. They also metabolize less alcohol in the stomach, meaning more ends up in their blood stream. A standard “drink,” is considered to be 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content), 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content), 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content), or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor.
The definition of ‘heavy drinker’ has evolved over the last 20 years and is based on scientific evidence about the harmful consequences of drinking too much” says George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Heavy drinking can lead to chronic diseases including problems with your liver, throat, larynx and esophagus. It can lead to high blood pressure, psychological problems, and pancreatitis. It puts you at an increased risk of becoming a victim of violence. And of course you ultimately risk becoming an alcoholic.
Too Much or Not Enough
Dr. Arthur Klatsky who has been studying alcohol and its impact on humans for decades says the pattern of when you drink is just as important to your health as the total number. Abstaining much of the week and then having all seven drinks on Saturday is also bad for your health. In addition to knowing what defines “heavy drinking,” people should also know what “light” and “moderate” drinking is, Koob says. Studies show the mortality rate for people who drink moderately on a daily basis is actually lower than those that don’t indulge.
Deborah Wiancek, N.D. Deborah Wiancek