While we regularly write blogs about the dangers of drinking alcohol and going to work, there’s another danger of alcohol that many of us need to consider and that’s how it affects our health.
According to the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council, there is a large number of Australians who drink alcohol at levels that increase their risk of alcohol-related harm. Plus, for some, alcohol is responsible for great hardship and ill health. And it’s not just those that drink to excess that are affected, but also families, friends and the broader community.
So, let’s look at how we can reduce the potential for alcohol to rule our lives and cause us harm.
Alcohol and health – long term
It may seem too simplistic, but by limiting your drinking of alcohol to no more than 2 standard drinks on any day, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of long-term issues relating to alcohol. In fact, if you stick to this limit, your chances of alcohol-related disease or injury is below 1 in 100.
For many Australians, who drink alcohol for enjoyment, relaxation and in social situations, this may be a difficult goal to achieve, but it’s one that’s worth keeping in mind. If you can’t stick to the 2 standard drinks rule all the time, at least limit the number of occasions when you do break the rule.
It’s worth noting that the rule applies for both men and women. While the National Health and Medical Research Council note that at higher levels of drinking, the risk of alcohol-related diseases increases more for women than for men, at low levels of drinking the risk is essentially the same.
Alcohol and health – short term
Of course, it’s not just long-term effects that we need to consider. Every year, many Australians are killed or injured due to drinking alcohol to excess. They’re killed and injured on the roads and in workplaces, in homes and communities, due to alcohol’s ability to affects skills, concentration and inhibitions.
That’s why the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion. Frighteningly, even at four standard drinks on a single occasion the risk of injury is more than doubled. Drink more than four standard drinks and the risks rapidly increase.
That beer or wine may not be a standard drink
It’s worth noting in all of these recommendations that we’re talking about standard drinks. That doesn’t equate to 1 can of beer or one glass of wine in most instances. For example, a full strength 375ml can or bottle of beer is 1.4 standard drinks, while it only takes 100ml of wine to drink one standard drink. A glass of wine you pour at home, or you receive in a pub, may be much more than this.