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Health Sciences
Health Sciences 1001A/B
Shauna Burke

Alcohol: Health Canada (2004):  79.3% of Canadian reported alcohol consumption in the past year  44% reported drinking weekly  Males more likely than females to report drinking in the past year  Highest drinking rate among 18-24 year olds  ~95% of university students consume alcoholic beverages  Through automobile crashes and other injuries, alcohol is the leading cause of death among people ages 15-24  Ethyl alcohol is the common psychoactive ingredient in all alcoholic beverages  When consumed, alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream from small intestine, stomach, colon  It is then distributed throughout the body’s tissues, affecting nearly every body system  Main site of alcohol metabolism = liver  transforms alcohol into energy and other products  Some is metabolized in the stomach  Body can metabolize ~1/2 -3/4 of a drink in 1 hour although it varies widely from person to person  If more alcohol is consumed than is metabolized, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will steadily rise, as will level of intoxication  BAC depends on: o Sex o Weight o Body fat o Water content in body’s tissues o Concentration of alcohol beverage o Rate of consumption o Volume of alcohol consumed o Someone with high % of body fat will have higher BAC o Bigger body size = more surface area= taked longer for alcohol to get through surface area Effects of Chronic Use of Alcohol:  Average lifespan of alcohol abusers is 10-12 years shorter than life of nonabusers  Cirrhosis  Liver cells are destroyed and replaced with fibrous scar tissue (fibrosis)  Inflammation of pancreas causing nausea, vomiting, abnormal digestion, abdominal pain  Cardiovascular problems (high blood pressure, weakening of heart muscle)  Related to oral cancer, cancers of the esophagus, liver, stomach, pancreas, and possibly breast cancer  Linked to asthma, gout, diabetes, recurrent infections, nutritional deficiencies, nervous system diseases  Psychiatric problems  paranoia, memory gaps  Drinking during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal alcohol syndrome, or alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder  FAS likely to have heart defects, abnormal physical features, very small at birth, most common preventable cause of mental impairment in the world o *1-2 in every thousand births (said, not in notes, prob on exam) o people appear normal but have mental defects o getting drunk just once in the final 3 months of pregnancy can cause fetal brain dammage Alcohol Abuse:  “Recurrent alcohol use that has negative consequences, such as drinking in dangerous situations, or drinking patterns that result in academic, professional, interpersonal, or legal difficulties”  Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) involves more extensive problems with alcohol use, usually including physical tolerance and withdrawal  One does not have to be an alcoholic to have problems with alcohol Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse:  Drinking alone or secretively  Using alcohol deliberately and repeatedly to perform or get through difficult situations  Feeling uncomfortable on occasions when alcohol is not available  Increased alcohol consumption beyond an already established drinking pattern  Consuming alcohol in heavily risky situations, such as before driving  Getting drunk regularly or more frequently than in the past  Drinking in the morning or other unusual times Binge Drinking:  Defined as a pattern of alcohol use that brings a person’s BAC up to 0.08% or above  Sam spady B
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