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Lecture 19

HLSC 1F90 Lecture 19: Alcohol Use

5 Pages

Health Sciences
Course Code
Kelli-an Lawrance

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Alcohol Use Alcohol Use in Canada  Why study alcohol use? o Consuming alcohol is ingrained in Canadian culture; it’s a common behaviour that we should understand  In 2013, 22 million Canadians (~80%) drank alcohol  3.1 million drank enough to be at risk for immediate injury and harm  4.4 million drank enough to be at risk for chronic health effects (liver cirrhosis; various cancers) o Medical knowledge of dose-dependent health effects of alcohol is evolving; we need to stay up to date  Health benefits of low-to-moderate alcohol consumption are being questioned  Studies suggest increased risk of breast cancer for women even at low level of 1 drink/day  Teenage brains appear to be more vulnerable (than adult brains) to the effects of alcohol o Alcohol consumption is a complex public health issue that has a wide range of health impacts depending on:  How much people drink  How often they drink  What they are doing while they’re drinking  Their underlying state of health  The social situations, family contexts, and messaging influencing their drinking patterns o Many people underestimate how much they drink  Knowing risks to health may help some people pay closer attention to their drinking and prevent possible negative health impacts to self/others  We will look at: o The nature of alcohol (textbook)  Alcoholic beverages; absorption; metabolism; BAC o Alcohol and Health (limited sections) o Alcohol Use (limited sections)  Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines  Binge drinking  Helping someone The Nature of Alcohol  Alcohol is the intoxicating ingredient in fermented or distilled beverages  Clicker Question: What type of alcohol do people consume? o Ethyl (ethanol)  Clicker Question: What type of alcoholic beverage has the most alcohol by volume o Hard liquor  Alcoholic beverages o Beer: brewed from mixture of grains; usually 3-6% alcohol (ales and malt liquors usually 6-8% alcohol) o Wine: fermented juices of grapes or other fruits; usually 9-14% alcohol, but fortified wine (sherry, port Madeira) contain ~20% alcohol o Hard liquor (gin, rye, rum, tequila, vodka, liquors): distillation of brewed or fermented grains or plants; usually 35-50% alcohol but can be higher  >= 1.1% alcohol = alcohol beverage; percent alcohol must be shown on label Absorption  When a person ingests alcohol o 20% rapidly absorbed from stomach into bloodstream o 75% absorbed into bloodstream through upper part of small intestine o 5% enters bloodstream further along GI tract  Alcohol in bloodstream produces feelings of intoxication  Rate of absorption into the bloodstream is affected by multiple factors: o Speed absorption  Carbonation of alcoholic drink / mix  Artificial sweetener in drink / mix o Slows absorption  Food in the stomach  Higher concentration of alcohol in beverage  All alcohol ingested is ultimately absorbed into the bloodstream Metabolism and Excretion  From the blood, alcohol easily enters the brain and temporarily disrupts function of neurotransmitters that carry messages between brain cells o Disruption affects cognitions, emotions, behaviours, etc.  Chromic heavy use of alcohol can cause permanent disruption of brain function  Alcohol stays in the bloodstream – producing intoxication – until it is metabolized (converted to energy or waste) o Most alcohol is converted first to acetaldehyde then to acetate o Acetate is ultimately burned for energy or converted to fat o Enzymes needed for metabolism vary across individuals creating differences in how people react to alcohol  While alcohol is in the bloodstream, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can be measured  Clicker Question: What is the definition of BAC?  BAC is the amount of alcohol in the blood expressed as the percent of alcohol in 1 deciliter of blood  It is a measure of intoxication Blood Alcohol Concentration  BAC is influenced by: o Weight: typically, smaller (vs. larger) individuals have higher BAC after drinking the same amount o Body fat: typically, individuals with more body fat have higher BAC than muscular individuals of the same weight (alcohol does not move from blood to fat as easily as blood to tissue) o Sex: women metabolize alcohol differently so BAC is typically higher after drinking same amount; hormonal fluctuation may affect alcohol metabolism  Food can slow the rate of alcohol absorption, but nothing can change the rate at which it’s metabolized o Once in the bloodstream, alcohol is typically metabolized at a rate of ½ standard drink per hour  The speed at which alcohol is metabolized cannot be influenced by exercising, breathing deeply, eating, drinking coffee, showering, or taking other drugs Immediate Effects of Alcohol  BAC .03%-.05% – light-headedness, relaxation, release of inhibitions  BAC .1%-.2% – interference with motor coordination, verbal performance, and intellectual functions  BAC .35% – coma (potentially fatal if BAC is higher) Effects of Alcohol Use  Alcoholic hangover: Caused by combination of toxic products of alcohol breakdown, dehydration, and hormo
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