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Alcohol and Health According to the CDC

The legal limit for drinking in the US is the alcohol level above which an individual is subject to legal penalties .

* Legal limits are measured using either a blood alcohol test or a breathalyzer.
* Legal limits are typically defined by state law, and may vary based on individual characteristics such as age and occupation.

All states in the United States have adopted 0.08% (80 mg/dL) as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle for drivers aged 21 years or older. However, drivers under age 21 years are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with any level of alcohol in their system.

Recommended Drinking Limits
The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans (1) recommend that if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, you do not exceed 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.

People who should not drink alcoholic beverages at all;

* Children and adolescents.
* Individuals of any age who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels.
* Women who may become pregnant or who are pregnant.
* Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that requires attention, skill, or coordination.
* Individuals taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
* Individuals with specific medical conditions.
* Persons recovering from alcoholism.

Heavy Drinking
For men, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming an average of more than 2 drinks per day. For women, heavy drinking is typically defined as consuming an average of more than 1 drink per day.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism binge drinking is defined as a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08% or above. This pattern of drinking usually corresponds to more than 4 drinks on a single occasion for men or more than 3 drinks on a single occasion for women, generally within about 2 hours (3).

Physical Effects of Excessive Drinking

* Chronic diseases such as liver cirrhosis (damage to liver cells), pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), various cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (the voice box), and esophagus, high blood pressure, and psychological disorders.
* Unintentional injuries such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
* Violence such as child maltreatment, homicide and suicide increase.
* Harm to a developing fetus if a woman drinks while pregnant.
* Alcohol abuse or dependence.

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