Are you a woman who has taken to having an alcoholic drink regularly?If so you
could be putting your health at risk.
According to a study by WHO World Health survey of African women(including
female youth) are drinking more and more. (b mcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/ ).
Women are using alcohol to cope with the chronic levels of stress. This trend is
troubling because of the harmful consumption of alcohol and drugs.
Particular alcohol risks in women
Did you know, while many are able to drink responsibly, alcohol use does pose unique
risks to women?
Alcohol affects women in unique ways
A woman’s body processes alcohol more slowly than a man’s. One drink for a woman
has about twice the effect of one for a man. Plus, women have a “telescoping,” or
accelerated, course of alcohol dependence, meaning that they generally advance from
their first drink to their first alcohol-related problem to the need for treatment more quickly
than men. Several biological factors make women more vulnerable to the effects of
alcohol than men.
❖ Body fat. Women tend to weigh less than men, and—pound for pound—a
woman’s body contains less water and more fatty tissue than a man’s.
Because fat retains alcohol while water dilutes it, alcohol remains at higher
concentrations for longer periods of time in a woman’s body, exposing her brain
and other organs to more alcohol.
❖ Enzymes. Women have lower levels of two enzymes—alcohol dehydrogenase
and aldehyde dehydrogenase—that metabolize (break down) alcohol in the
stomach and liver. As a result, women absorb more alcohol into their bloodstreams
❖ Hormones. Changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle may also
affect how a woman metabolizes alcohol.
These biological factors explain why women become intoxicated after drinking less
and are more likely to suffer adverse consequences after drinking smaller
quantities and for fewer years than men.
Women also tend to develop alcohol-related diseases and other consequences of
drinking sooner than men, and after drinking smaller cumulative amounts of
alcohol. Women are also more likely to abuse alcohol and other substances in
order to self-medicate problems such as depression, anxiety, and stress, or to
cope with emotional difficulties.
Women who drink more than more than about 7 drinks a week, are at increased
risk of car accidents and other traumatic injuries, cancer, hypertension, stroke, and
suicide. In addition, drinking at an elevated rate increases the likelihood that a
woman will go on to abuse or become dependent on alcohol.
Alcohol and Breast Cancer
Alcohol may also raise a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer. Each additional
10 grams of alcohol (the amount in about one 4-oz glass of wine) per day raises the
relative risk of developing breast cancer over a lifetime by about 10%. To put this in
- A woman’s overall lifetime risk of breast cancer is almost 9 in 100 if she drinks no
alcohol. Two drinks per day increases the risk to just over 10 in 100, while six
drinks a day ups her risk to about 13 in 100.
Sexual and physical abuse increases risk
Evidence also suggests that sexual or physical abuse during childhood may
predispose both men and women to alcohol and drug problems in adulthood. Since
women are more likely to have been victims of childhood sexual abuse, they are
disproportionately affected. Research shows that:
❖ Women who have been physically or sexually abused as children are far
more likely to drink, have alcohol-related problems, or become dependent on
❖ Physical abuse during adulthood, which is suffered more by women than
men, seems to raise a woman’s risk of using and abusing alcohol.
❖ Alcohol is a major factor in violence against women, playing a role in as
many as three of every four rapes and nearly the same percentage of
domestic violence incidents.
❖ Women with a family history of alcohol abuse are more likely than men
with the same background to abuse alcohol.
Drinking during pregnancy–Never a good idea
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause an array of physical and mental birth
defects, and is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation.When a pregnant
woman drinks, alcohol passes through the placenta to her fetus.
In the fetus’s developing digestive system, alcohol breaks down much more slowly
than it does in an adult body, meaning that the fetus’s blood alcohol level can
remain high for longer periods.
Any kind of alcohol in any amount can harm a developing fetus, especially during the first
and second trimester. Physicians and public health officials recommend that women
avoid drinking any alcohol during pregnancy.
Healthy Drinking Tips.
To look after your health when drinking, it is best to keep your units to a low level. For
women, it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. 14 units
means roughly six pints of lager or one and a half bottles of wine.
If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes (binge drinking) a week, you increase
your risk of long term illness and injury.
The risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat
and breast) increases the more you drink on a regular basis.
If you wish to cut down on the amount you drink during the week, you can have several
drink-free days a week.
Drinking to make yourself feel better or to drown your sorrows, even though you may get
some relief from using alcohol and drugs, it is only short term.In the long run, drugs and
alcohol can make you feel worse because:
❖ You avoid problems; you don’t solve them.
❖ Drugs and alcohol affect how you work, play, or get along with others.
❖ You can become dependent on them.
Alcohol is a drug. Even though it has been used throughout history, for social occasions,
to celebrate initiation ceremonies and milestones and holidays. So alcohol itself is not
inherently evil. When used responsibly, alcohol can turn social gatherings to enjoy
pleasant experiences. BUT when it is misused like everything else, alcohol can do more
harm than any other drug in the world. Because it’s socially acceptable.
AT the end of the day, ask yourself this:
IS the cost of Your addiction to alcohol worth your family, friends and
Find Out if you are addicted to alcohol in the link below.