Some of our posts focus on alcohol and the affects it has on people’s ability to drive and work. For employees, we ask questions such as, should you be at work and would you pass an alcohol or drug test? For employers, we ask whether there could be workers coming to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and what steps they are taking to protect their business from the issues that drugs and alcohol can bring.
However, there is another important question that many of us should be asking ourselves, and that is, is alcohol affecting my health?
In this first of a two-part blog, we’ll look at the affects that alcohol can have on you and your health.
Alcohol and health
While there is plenty of research that shows that drinking at risky levels can be detrimental to health, there is still a significant part of our community who regularly drink alcohol to excess. So, if you’re one of these people, what could be in your future?
- First of all, it’s wise to point out that drinking alcohol is generally not bad for you. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, the risks rise when you drink more than two standard drinks (that’s standard drinks, not a large glass of wine or pint of beer). Research by DrinkWise shows that while Australians are drinking less on average, there are still around 16% of us who usually consume five or more standard drinks at a time.
- If you do drink to excess and don’t follow the guidelines, alcohol may be slowly killing you or making you sick. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, if you regularly drink over the two standard drinks per day limit you’re leaving yourself at risk of:
- Regular colds and flu
- Fertility and reproduction issues
- Poor memory and brain damage
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- While there are health risks with drinking to excess regularly, even a single session with alcohol can leave you in danger. That’s because drinking to excess increases the chances of you being injured or killed. This might seem dramatic, but when you consider that alcohol use can cause short-term issues with concentration, reflexes, vision, clumsiness and more, it should come as no surprise. Studies in the US have found that alcohol is a factor in 60% of fatal burns, drowning and homicides, 50% of severe trauma injuries and sexual assaults, and 40% of fatal vehicle accidents, suicides and fatal falls.
- Exacerbating this, drinking to excess over a period of time can also lead to financial, work and social issues, all of which can also have an affect on your mental and physical health.
Next week, we’ll take a look at drugs and the impact that drugs can have on your health.