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    Alcohol Awareness Month

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | April 16th, 2023

    Alcohol Awareness Month

    Once in a while, I do enjoy a glass of wine with dinner when I am with friends. When I go to weddings or special parties, I will even enjoy the special drink of the evening. This is all good for special occasions; however, when drinking goes from occasional to excessive, alcohol can be harmful, and this needs to be called out. April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a reminder that excessive alcohol can be detrimental.

    Each year in the United States, excessive alcohol is responsible for the following:

    • 140,000 deaths shortening the lives by an average of 26 years – excessive alcohol use is the fourth leading cause of preventable death after tobacco, poor diet and physical inactivity, and illegal drugs 
    • 1 in 5 deaths among adults ages 20 – 49
    • $249 billion in economic costs, or $2.05

    Excessive alcohol use is linked to the following health conditions:  

    • Problems with learning, memory, and mental health
    • High blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke
    • Liver disease – fatty liver disease, hepatitis, fibrosis
    • Cancer – mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, colon, rectum, liver, and breast

    Alcohol increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning, and burns.

    What is excessive drinking?

    • Binge drinking – is defined as consuming four or more drinks on occasion for a woman or five or more drinks on an occasion event for a man.
    • Heavy drinking – defined as eight or more drinks per week for a woman or 15 0r more drinks per week for a man
    • Any alcohol use by pregnant women or anyone younger than 21

    As healthcare providers, we do not often do a great job screening for the alcohol-related disorder. I would urge you to take the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). If you test positive or you have someone who you know may be having an alcohol problem, then seek help. You can talk with your healthcare provider or use the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Alcohol Treatment Navigator

    Alcohol-related diseases are preventable. Let us do something about it.

    2 Responses to “Alcohol Awareness Month”

    1. Linda K. Jackson says:

      Very interesting information. Is the difference, in the amount between men and women based on generalities of size, hormones, or what? Thank you for your mind-broadening information!

      • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

        You are correct. The difference between men and women has to do with the biological difference between men and women. Women tend to absorb more alcohol and it takes a longer time to get through the system. Thank you for the question.

    Leave a Reply

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