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006 Avoid alcohol

              Alcohol or spirits (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) is toxic to the liver and other organs in the body, although at small amount it may be harmless. Totally avoiding it will keep you away from indulging or from becoming addicted to it.

Alcohol increases your risk of cancer

              Lifetime moderate to high alcohol consumption can increase cancer risk among men for some of the 13 cancers, including cancers of the esophageal, colon, stomach, liver, lung and prostate. For most of these cancers, it was beer and spirits rather than wine consumption that drove the excess risks. More recent studies have confirmed this bad effect of alcohol.25


Other bad effects of alcohol

              While studies have shown that a single drink each day might not harm health--and might even have some beneficial effects, too much alcohol can damage almost every organ in the body and weaken the immune system. Depression of the immune system may result in an increased susceptibility to infection, decreased healing ability and poor sexual life.

              In addition, alcohol consumption was recently identified also as one of the risk factors for gout in women.26


Social issues involving alcohol consumption

             Households with history of violence involving intoxicated abusers are actually more common than what is being documented and reported.27

              Accidents associated with drunken driving are also a major cause of hospitalization, disability and death. Drivers with blood alcohol content of 0.10 are 6 to 12 times more likely to get into fatal accidents than drivers with no alcohol in their blood, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

              Teenagers who drink heavily are also more likely to have behavioral problems or symptoms of depression and anxiety than their peers. A recent study have shown that among Filipino street children ages 8 to 17 years old, 52% of males and 67% of females claimed to have consumed alcohol.17



Table 6. Effect of alcohol on humans at different blood alcohol content (BAC).

BAC (%)


0.01 to 0.029

Subtle effect: average individual appear normal

0.03 to 0.12

Euphoria: improvement in mode, impaired fine muscle coordination, inhibited judgment

0.09 to 0.25

Lethargy: sedation, delayed reaction, ataxia

0.18 to 0.30

Confusion: impaired senses, analgesia, staggering, dizziness, vomiting

0.25 to 0.40

Stupor: severe ataxia, anterograde amnesia, respiratory depression, unconsciousness,

0.35 to 0.5

Coma: unconsciousness, cardiopulmonary depression; death

Most countries have legal limit of 0.05% BAC for drivers. Some countries have lower legal limit like in Japan which is 0.03%, while other countries like Saudi Arabia have zero tolerance for alcohol.



Alcohol is deadly to the fetus and bad for the baby

              Drinking alcohol even a little during pregnancy can cause birth defects and disabilities to the fetus. Breastfeeding mothers should also avoid drinking because alcohol is concentrated in breast milk and can inhibit milk production. An occasional single small drink of red wine may be okay, but breastfeeding should be avoided for two hours after the drink.


Alcohol to treat alcohol poisoning

              Ethanol, the type of alcohol present in any alcoholic drinks, can actually be used to treat methanol or isopropyl alcohol poisoning.28 Poisoning with methanol, a more toxic household alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol,29 a common household disinfectant, is fairly common. Immediate emergency management is the administration of approximately the same amount of ethanol or liquor. However, in any form of poisoning, immediate medical attention as a more effective treatment might be needed. Severe cases may require hemodialysis.

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