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reviewed 9/18/2018

Drinking to excess

Alcohol can hurt your health, particularly if you drink a lot.

Excessive drinking—which includes binge drinking—is the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

What is heavy drinking?

For women, eight plus drinks per week is considered heavy. For men, 15 plus drinks per week is considered heavy.

What is binge drinking?

For women, four plus drinks per sitting—a 2 to 3 hour span—is considered binge drinking. For men, five plus drinks per sitting is considered binge drinking.

What's a drink?

A 12 ounce bottle of beer (5% alcohol), a 1.5 ounce shot of hard liquor (40% alcohol) and a five ounce glass of wine (12% alcohol) all constitute a drink.

What are some of the risks of drinking?

Short term risks:

  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Falls and other injuries
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Violence, including toward a partner or child

Long term risks:

  • Liver disease
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Increased cancer risk
  • Trouble at work
  • Relationship problems
  • Mental health issues

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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