What to know about alcohol and your health – Kitsap Sun

Ginny Sugimoto, MD(Photo: Kitsap Sun)

If I asked five people at a party how many alcoholic drinks are considered a healthy amount, I’d probably get a different answer from each person.

Part of the reason for this is that the answer can vary greatly by individual and by particular population groups. Another reason is that, while most of us understand that alcohol can be damaging to health, we rarely learn the more complicated specifics about health risks and signs of alcohol addiction.

Here, I’d like to highlight some of the latest information about drinking alcoholic beverages, and, if you choose to drink, outline guidelines for recommended limits for healthy drinking.

Health risks of drinking

Alcoholism has long been associated with liver damage. It is also known to negatively affect a person’s likelihood of being employed, committing domestic violence, and dying of auto accidents, homicide or suicide.

What is less known by many is that drinking beyond moderation on a regular basis raises the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), esophagus, liver, colon and rectum and breast. It may also increase the risk of cancers of the pancreas and stomach. Combining drinking with smoking tobacco further increases the risk of mouth, throat and larynx cancers. Even a few drinks every week is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women. (Women face specific health risks when they drink beyond moderate levels, because they typically weigh less than men and have less water in their bodies than men do.)

Adults over age 65 should also take care to moderate or eliminate alcohol consumption because they have increased sensitivity to alcohol and are more likely to have certain health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, liver trouble, osteoporosis, memory problems and

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