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Monday, November 22, 2010

Women At Greater Risk Than Men When It Comes To Alcohol

Alcohol is detrimental to the body no matter who you are, but, it turns out that women are much more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than men. There are a number of women who can hold their alcohol like men; however, heavy drinking can severely damage a woman's body, taking a higher toll on the liver, brain, and heart. Young women, in many cases, binge the same way that young men do without even realizing that their mind and body is affected greater. "We are very concerned about the fact that more young women are starting to drink in harmful ways, including binge drinking," said Dr. Deidra Roach of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The only age group whose binge drinking has increased in the last decade are women ages 21 to 23 according to a study on more than 500,000 people nationwide. There was a huge jump by 30 percent of women that binge when they drink between the years 1979 and 2006; this information was reported in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Binge drinking occurs when someone drinks four or more alcoholic beverages in rapid succession. There are an estimated 17.6 million Americans who abuse alcohol, of those people; 5.3 million of them are female, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Men and women's bodies are much different, they process things differently and are affected for different lengths of time, according to the NIAAA. Women have more body fat and less water in their body, giving them less ability to metabolize alcohol than men; as well as lower levels of an enzyme important in the breakdown of alcohol, according to the NIAAA. Women who drink alcohol are affected by it much quicker than men and they stay inebriated for longer periods of time. "Because women are smaller than men . . . the same amount of alcohol will be more concentrated in a woman's body than a man's body," said Roach, a health scientist administrator in the NIAAA's Division of Treatment and Recovery Research. "This means when a man and a woman drink the same amount of alcohol, in general, the woman's internal organs will be exposed to more alcohol than the man's."


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