Drunken driving and deaths due to road accidents simply go hand in hand. News of this kind invariably finds its place in the daily newspapers. However, on hearing the latest incident in Noida where young drunk women caused a major accident in a hit and run case it still came as a major shocker. Leaving one person dead and two injured they fled from the scene in a car that was unregistered. I have always associated women with giving life. And now when I had to believe that they took away precious life I found it very hard to digest. (Not to be construed as men causing accidents is acceptable!)
Of course it goes without mention that alcohol is bad irrespective of gender, but, study shows that women are much more vulnerable than men to adverse consequences of alcohol use. Just like men and women are differently affected by various diseases, alcohol-related ailments also exhibit varying levels.
Alcohol in the Body
Drinking alcohol can be a great way for people to relax and unwind. A social drink during a leisurely dinner with family or friends is the most common way that a person first takes to the drink. Alcohol, a mood altering chemical is created when grains, fruits, or vegetables are fermented. Once consumed it enters the blood stream and starts affecting the central nervous system. It acts like a sedative or tranquilizer. As already aware, alcohol slows down motor coordination and reaction time impairing judgment and self-control. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream from the stomach and small intestine. It is broken down by the liver and then eliminated from the body.
Alcohol & Women
Things have definitely changed for good in the 21st century for the fairer sex and they are at par undoubtedly with their male counterparts on every front. However, when it comes to drinking alcohol, there essentially needs to be a mandatory inequality. The most satisfactory condition being zero alcohol intake by women.
Women are advised to drink less generally because their bodies don’t process alcohol as efficiently as their male counterparts.
Owing to physiologic differences alcohol is less likely to be tolerated by a woman’s body than a man’s. The repercussion therefore of too much alcohol can be more dramatic in women. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. The enzyme Dehyrdrogenase that breaks down the alcohol is produced in lesser amounts in women’s bodies. The side effects of alcohol are seen to last longer in women. Alcohol disperses in body water and women have 10% more fat than men that basically means less water in their bodies. So the concentration of alcohol in blood stream is liable to be higher.
An alarming statistic from Reuters report says that the women’s market in India for alcohol consumption will grow 25 percent over the next five years, faster than the 10 percent rise projected for the overall industry. The situation is very disturbing considering that alcohol puts women at greater risk of harm.
Alcohol and Health Problems in Women
One may tend to notice that women begin to have alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels compared to men.
Women who abuse are more vulnerable than men to liver damage (Cirrhosis), premature menopause, brain damage such as loss of mental function. Women who drank more than 45 grams of alcohol per day (approximately three drinks) had 1.5 times the risk of developing breast cancer as nondrinkers. Pregnant women should not drink at all as it passes on to the fetus and affects the baby. Drinking during pregnancy is a big NO! It can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects.
Whether to drink or not is a personal decision. Alcoholic beverages cost money, cause accidents, add calories to the diet and invite unnecessary medical problems.