Why is it important to know how long alcohol stays in your blood? There are several reasons. For people who drink on occasion, such as while enjoying a night out, they may be interested to know how long alcohol stays in the blood so they know when it is safe to drive. It is also helpful to know how long alcohol remains in the bloodstream so you know how many drinks may be safe to consume in a given amount of time. People who suffer from alcoholism, though, should also be aware of the amount of alcohol in the blood, as prolonged abuse may damage the liver. When your liver does not work properly, it may take longer to pass alcohol. To avoid health complications such as liver damage, you may want to know how long alcohol stays in your blood, what is a safe amount to consume, how to recognize if a person may be suffering with alcohol addiction and how to get help.
Alcohol In The Blood
The amount of alcohol in the blood is determined by a measure called blood alcohol content (BAC). BAC is measured as the percentage of alcohol per a certain amount (deciliters) of blood. BAC was developed to help authorities determine the amount of alcohol in the blood, and thereby the level of intoxication. This is especially helpful in deciding who is safe to drive, and who is not. So what factors into the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood?
Several factors contribute to BAC, namely the number of drinks consumed, whether the person is male or female and body weight. Some other factors include:
- If you have eaten
- What you have recently eaten
- Amount you have eaten
- Tolerance level
- Type of alcohol
- Medications you may be taking
Alcohol tends to affect women faster than men. This is due to differences between men and women’s bodies and their abilities to dilute alcohol, metabolize alcohol and the difference in hormones and amount of body fat. Men tend to have a higher percentage of water in the body—this results in men being able to dilute alcohol more easily than women, on average. Also, women tend to have less of the necessary enzyme which helps metabolize alcohol so it may pass through the bloodstream, resulting in a slower processing of alcohol. Women tend to have higher hormone levels, due to menstruation, and this also causes a longer process time for alcohol in the blood. Further, a person’s fat content relates directly to his or her ability to process alcohol. In general, women tend to have more fat content than do men, and this also slows the process, and leads to faster intoxication.
What Is A Safe Amount To Consume?
This depends on the previous factors, as well as a few facts. First, you should know how much alcohol is in a given drink. For instance, 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or one unit of liquor (a “shot”) are equal in terms of alcohol content. If you know know your weight, sex, pertinent genetic factors and degree of tolerance, you may be able to gage the amount of alcohol you can consume without reaching unsafe levels of intoxication. Generally, one drink every two hours is a good rule of thumb for safe drinking.
However, it is not always those drinking recreationally who have the problem with keeping the amount of alcohol in the blood at a safe level. People drinking on occasion should know their limits, and exercise caution when drinking, especially if preparing to drive. People suffering with alcohol addiction may not be able to exercise their ability to stop drinking, and these people need the support of those around them.
How To Recognize Alcoholism
It is often not the person who is afflicted with alcoholism who recognizes the signs, but those who love and care about the person. Some signs of alcoholism you may see are:
- Neglecting family, school or work
- Troubles with friends or family members due to drinking
- An inability to stop drinking, even if the person wants to
- Cravings, urges and excessively seeking alcohol
- Continuing to drink even if it causes health problems
- Experiencing blackouts, or inability to remember events that occurred during drinking
- Getting into trouble (such as doing illegal things) while drinking
- Developing a tolerance—person must drink more and more to achieve desired effects
- Spending quite a lot of time drinking and recovering (being “hungover”)
- Experiencing withdrawal effects when not drinking
- Failing to engage in activities which are normally pleasing to the person, especially in order to drink instead
- Needing a drink to start the day or feel normal
- Developing physical dependence, which may cause physical results such as stomach upset or redness of the face
How To Get Help For Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction is not a disease to be taken lightly. Though knowing how long alcohol stays in your blood is useful knowledge, it may not help if you don’t have the ability to stop drinking. There is help for you or your loved one if you’re suffering with alcohol abuse. Contact us today at AlcoholTreatment.net to learn more about treatment options, and find a plan that is right for you.