Safe Limits For Chronic Consumption

These cannot be accurately defined. But both patients and nonpatients justifiably expect some guidance, and doctors and government departments will wish to be helpful. They may reasonably advise as a 'safe' or prudent maximum (there being no particular individual contraindication): men, not more than 21 units per week (and not more than 4 units in any one day), and women, 14 units per week (and not more than 3 units in any one day).33 Consistent drinking more than these amounts carries a progressive risk to health (see also Alcoholic drinks and mortality, below). In other societies recommended maxima are higher or lower.

33 Report of an Inter-Departmental Working Group, 1995 Sensible Drinking. Department of Health.

Alcoholics with established cirrhosis have usually consumed about 23 units (230 ml; 184 g) daily for 10 years. It has long been thought that total consumption accumulated over time was the crucial factor for cirrhosis. Heavy drinkers may develop hepatic cirrhosis at a rate of about 2% per annum. The type of drink (beer, wine, spirits) is not particularly relevant to the adverse health consequences.

A standard bottle of spirits (750 ml) contains 300 ml (240 g) of alcohol (i.e. 40% by volume). A standard human cannot metabolise more than about 170 g per day. People whose intake is concentrated at the weekend allow their livers time for repair and have a lower risk of liver injury than do those who consume the same total on an even daily basis.

Alcohol No More

Alcohol No More

Do you love a drink from time to time? A lot of us do, often when socializing with acquaintances and loved ones. Drinking may be beneficial or harmful, depending upon your age and health status, and, naturally, how much you drink.

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