December is Alcohol Awareness Month

What you need to know about alcohol

As the holidays approach, you may find yourself at parties where alcohol is being

served. For many of us, it's easy to have just a drink with dinner and then call it quits.

But for some, drinking can get out of control. This can lead to dangerous situations

and health risks. Here's what you need to know to help you stay healthy and happy this

holiday season.

How much is too much?

If you do drink, experts recommend no more than a moderate amount. This is one

drink per day for women, and two drinks per day for men. One drink equals:

12 ounces of beer.

8 ounces of malt liquor.

5 ounces of wine.

1 ½ ounces of distilled spirits or liquor.

Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks at a time for women and five or more

for men. Heavy drinking is considered to be eight or more drinks per week for women,

or 15 or more drinks per week for men.

What are the health risks of drinking?

When you drink alcohol regularly, you place yourself at risk for short- and long-term

health conditions. Researchers now recognize 54 different health conditions linked to

drinking. In fact, current research estimates that alcohol abuse may shorten your life by

as much as 30 years.

Short-term health risks include:

Injuries due to falls, traffic accidents or burns.

Domestic violence.

Miscarriage or stillbirth.

Alcohol poisoning.

How can I be healthier about alcohol?

Your healthiest option is to avoid alcohol completely. This is especially true if:

You're pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Planning to drive.

Recovering from alcoholism.

Taking medications that interact with alcohol.

If you do drink, follow the guidelines and don't over-consume.

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