It is a known fact that heavy drinking is not only harmful for health, but also dims the senses. It is regarded as one of the major causes of road accidents. But, what about moderate drinking?
Tipplers swear that a little alcohol is good for the system and doesn’t impair the senses while driving. However, there is enough evidence to show that this may not be entirely true.
So, what is the truth? Who is right and who is wrong?
Dr. Sam Zakhari, Director, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, sums it up by saying, “There are some negatives and some positives (to moderate drinking), so decisions about whether to drink really depend on people’s individual situation.”
Defining Moderate Drinking
The definition of moderate drinking differs from person to person. However, if a man takes no more than two drinks a day and a woman one, it constitutes moderate drinking.
According to Dr. Robert Gish, San Diego School of Medicine, University of California, one drink is equal to one bottle of beer and a glass of wine equals one shot of liquor.
Moderate drinking has to be on a daily basis to qualify as such. If you consume seven drinks one day and don’t drink for the rest of the week to average it out to same amount, it is not the same thing. This has even more damaging effects on health.
Despite this knowledge, it has been observed that moderate drinkers tend to over drink. If habitual drinkers stick to the defined moderate consumption, it may do good to their health, but then again.
Effects of Moderate Drinking
- Reduces Risk of Heart Attack: Moderate drinking reduces blood pressure, clears fat from the arteries and reduces the tendency of blood to clot. These, in turn, reduce the chances of a heart attack or heart disease. On the contrary, excess consumption reverses this effect and ups the chances of heart problems.
- Diminishes Risk of Ischemic Stroke: The alcohol in the blood helps to remove any clogs in the vessel carrying blood to the brain, thereby preventing ischemic stroke.
- Increases Risk of Hemorrhagic Stroke: In hemorrhagic stroke the blood seeps out of the blood vessel of the brain causing this stroke. Since alcohol acts as a blood thinner, it increases the chances of hemorrhagic stroke.
- Interferes with Medications: Alcohol can dangerously interfere with medications. Since, both alcohol and medicine compounds are processed by the liver, alcohol receives first preference. This slows down the efficient breaking down of medications. If the drinking is stopped for some time, the liver, freed of processing alcohol, breaks down medications rather too quickly that can be risky, especially for those taking the medicine for seizure.
- Drinking and Driving: Since alcohol affects people differently, even if a moderately drunk person is within the legal limit of 0.08 percent (80mg/dL) while driving, he or she may get impaired due to alcohol and end up in a crash. Although driving under influence is a serious offence that can get one into serious trouble under the DWI laws, moderate drinkers also should not take a chance.
Moderate drinking has its pluses and minuses but drinking and driving is always a risky proposition. What is even scarier is to get involved in a crash because of moderate drinking.