Alcohol can be a safe and enjoyable part of life. If you choose to drink alcohol, the key is to keep your drinking at low to moderate levels.
People who drink too much are hurting their health. Heavy drinking can cause all kinds of problems, from stomach and sexual problems to stroke and liver disease. It can also lead to problems at work, school, or home, and to drunk driving and violence.
Did You Know?
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive mental health services, including screening tests for depression and alcohol misuse, at no cost to you. Learn more.
Light to moderate drinking may actually help your heart. Research shows that people who have 1 or 2 drinks a day are less
likely to get heart disease than people who don't drink any alcohol or who
drink larger amounts.
But alcohol also can make
high blood pressure more likely. If you don't drink
now, don't start drinking for your heart. Regular physical activity and a
healthy diet will help your heart without the risks of alcohol.
How much drinking is safe?
Drinking alcohol isn't harmful unless you drink too much—and what is a safe amount for one person may be too
much for another. Because of things like age, sex, weight, and health history, alcohol affects people differently. But here's what experts say:
A woman who has more than 3 drinks at one
time or more than 7 drinks a week.
A man who has more than 4 drinks at one time or more than 14 drinks a
Drinking has a greater effect on women because they typically weigh less. But this isn't the only reason. Women's bodies have less water than men's bodies. Alcohol mixes with body water, so alcohol is more concentrated and more "powerful" in women than in men. Think of putting a drop of red food coloring in both a small and a large cup of water. The water in the smaller cup will be much redder.
To find out if the amount of alcohol you drink could be harmful, take a