Should You Drink To Your Health?

   By drodriguez  Jul 26, 2008

There are plenty of studies about the many health benefits and risks of drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, one often contradicts the next and can make things even more confusing. One study claims alcohol consumption increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer while another says it lowers the risk of dementia. Scientists and doctors go back and forth over whether very moderate alcohol consumption during pregnancy is harmful to the fetus or perfectly safe.

The one thing that remains certain is that decisions about how much or how little to drink remain a lot more involved for women than for men. A recent Newsweek article offers a few factors women should take into consideration before taking a drink.

One thing to consider is that if a woman and a man of the same weight drink the same amount, the woman will get drunker faster and stay that way longer. The reason this is true is because a woman’s body contains less water than a man’s and the alcohol cannot become as diluted. This is why women are more likely to develop alcohol-related liver disease.

Another thing to think about are the studies regarding breast cancer and drinking. One recent study indicated that women who drink heavily (3 glasses a day or more) had a 30 percent greater chance of having breast cancer. But other studies say there is no link between the two.

What is a woman to do with this kind of contradictory information? The director of metabolic research at the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, Samir Zakhari, advises women who have breast cancer in their family to drink less just to be on the safe side since science is still unsure of the risks.

Though the health benefits of alcohol consumption are equal for men and women, the risks are greater for women. Zakhari talks about the issue of drinking for your health when he says, “If you want to drink for pleasure and you can do it in moderation, that’s fine. If you want to drink to combat coronary heart disease, well, there are safer, cheaper and more effective ways of doing that.”

What do you think of the increased risk women face with alcohol consumption?

Would knowing you may be facing greater health risks than men cause you to drink less?

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deletion by deletion | CHICAGO, IL
Oct 22, 2008

I am thinking of getting pregnant in a couple of months, so I think I'm just going to stop having a drink after work now. Can't hurt!

tweety24311 by tweety24311 | SEA BRIGHT, NJ
Aug 21, 2008

Every opinion is so different from one person to the next. I really think people should base their decisions by themselves. I personally don't like to drink. There is always going to be something out there that will harm our health. Whether its additives in food or the pollution that we breathe. So, do what makes you happy, ofcourse in moderation!!

thomastrails by thomastrails | Raleigh, NC
Aug 12, 2008

After I calculated the number of calories I was drinking per week on an annualized basis, I realized where the 15 lbs. I can never seem to lose came from!

mynana by mynana | Marion, OH
Aug 12, 2008

The studies on the risks of alcohol consumption are so contradictary that until something diffinitive is established, there will be little change in the way women consume.

ChelleB by ChelleB | Chicago, IL
Aug 06, 2008

I think the information is right on in this posting. I'm in my early 30's and was born with a congenital heart defect. My heart condition has a direct impact on the water levels in my body on a daily basis so for this reason my cardiologist was very adamant about me not drinking alcohol. Of course, I didn't listen throughout my 20's, but got some not so good news diagnosis-wise right before my 31st birthday. It was enough for me to finally stop drinking all together. Interestingly enough, I always recall being sick from the age of 21 even after having 1 glass of red wine. It took me 10 years and a weakened heart to stop drinking, but I guess it's better late than never.

historyhata by historyhata | Westminster, CA
Jul 30, 2008

Woah. After reading this, I'm amazed. I really didn't know that alcohol consumption could do all those things. I'm really, really going to avoid alcohol from now on. Well, probably a sip every now and then.

tishatoone by tishatoone | Topeka, KS
Jul 22, 2008

I really struggled with self medicating with alcohol while suffering from menopause. I knew the risks and am now trying exercise and yoga. Wish me luck!

cmarieresendiz by cmarieresendiz | Discovery Bay, CA
Jul 21, 2008

Geez, I didn't know that it was said to be linked to cancer. Both of my parents have at least 3 glasses a day whether it be wine or vodka. I also was not aware that women get drunk faster. Thinks to keep in mind. I just turned 21, and have not had a drink since my birthday on the 21st. Even then I onky had 2 drinks. I do not ever want to become sick from drinking. I would rather have a good time and watch everyone else be goofy, haha.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Jul 18, 2008

As with always, everything in moderation. I personally only have an alcoholic drink about twice a year!

I do remember, growing up, that my grandparents would have a drink every Sunday afternoon...they both lived to be in their 90's.