Frequently asked questions on Zumba Fitness, Active Lifestyle Coaching, Diet Counselling

Alcohol

What health problems are associated with excessive alcohol use?

Excessive drinking both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, is associated with numerous health problems, including—

  • Chronic diseases such as liver cirrhosis (damage to liver cells); pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas); various cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (the voice box), and esophagus; high blood pressure; and psychological disorders.
  • Unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
  • Violence, such as child maltreatment, homicide, and suicide.
  • Harm to a developing fetus if a woman drinks while pregnant, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Alcohol abuse or dependence.

 

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Why are women’s low-risk limits different from men’s?

Research shows that women start to have alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels than men do. One reason is that, on average, women weigh less than men. In addition, alcohol disperses in body water, and pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men do. So after a man and woman of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration will tend to be higher, putting her at greater risk for harm.

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Isn’t drinking good for the heart?

For some drinkers, the answer can be “yes,” depending on the amount. Regular light to moderate drinking can lower the risk for coronary heart disease, mainly among middle-aged and older adults (other factors also cut the risk, including a healthy diet and weight, exercise, and not smoking). Heavy drinking can actually increase blood pressure and damage the heart.

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Is “low-risk” drinking just another term for “moderate” drinking?

Not exactly—the weekly amounts may be the same, but the daily ones are different, and the recommendations serve different purposes for different types of drinkers.

  • Low-risk drinking for healthy men under age 65 is no more than 4 drinks on any day and 14 per week and for healthy women (and men over 65) is no more than 3 drinks on any day and 7 per week.
  • Moderate drinking, according to the U.S. dietary guidelines, is up to 2 drinks per day for men and up to 1 drink per day for women. (Per week, this corresponds to an upper limit of 14 drinks for men and 7 for women.)

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Why do some people react differently to alcohol than others?

Individual reactions to alcohol vary, and are influenced by many factors; such as:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Race or ethnicity.
  • Physical condition (weight, fitness level, etc).
  • Amount of food consumed before drinking.
  • How quickly the alcohol was consumed.
  • Use of drugs or prescription medicines.
  • Family history of alcohol problems.

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How does alcohol affect a person?

Alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver by enzymes; however, the liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, leaving the excess alcohol to circulate throughout the body. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body is directly related to the amount consumed.

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