Alcohol-Related Health Issues: Why Women Are at Greater Risk Than Men

Amanda and Brian went out for drinks after work. They each had three beers. If we tested both of their blood alcohol levels, what do you think we would find?

Answer: Amanda’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will be higher than Brian’s.

Why? Because she’s a woman.

And guess what else? Even if they both drink the same amount over the next several years, Amanda will be at higher risk for several alcohol-related health issues. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

Turns out we can point the finger at biology.

Call 800-839-1686 Toll Free. Privacy Guaranteed. No Commitment.

Help is standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Who Answers?

Biology and Alcohol-Related Health Issues

Did you know women have less water in their bodies than men? And since water is mostly where alcohol lives in the body, a female’s BAC is generally higher than a male’s…even if they weigh the same.

Of course, women tend to weigh less than men, so the same amount of alcohol will have greater effects on a smaller woman.

But the results of a BAC test aren’t the biggest concern. For women, it’s the obvious differences in long-term effects of alcohol that are most troubling.

And it’s these same long-term effects that women should be aware of as they decide whether or not to consume alcohol. If women choose to consume alcohol, they’ll also need to put some serious thought into how much they drink and how often.

So what are these effects?

5 Health Problems Caused By Alcohol

We know that drinking increases at least five specific alcohol-related health risks for women.

Let’s take a look at all five:

Alcohol-Related Liver Damage

If Amanda and Brian drink the same amount, Amanda is more likely to develop alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation of the liver caused by drinking too much alcohol). This may be due to the way alcohol is processed differently in women than in men. The condition leads to liver damage and can cause liver failure.

Alcohol-Related Heart Disease

The fact is, even if Amanda consumes less alcohol over the next 20 years than Brian, she will be more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease.

One of the leading causes of heart disease is the long-term misuse of alcohol. The toxicity of the drug weakens the heart muscle and makes it hard for the heart to pump blood.

As it works harder to function, the heart becomes thin and enlarged and can stop working properly.

Alcohol-Related Brain Damage

Amanda may also be putting her brain at greater risk than Brian. Research on the brain’s sensitivity to alcohol-related damage indicates that misuse of alcohol causes “brain damage more quickly in women than in men.” And teen girls may be at an even higher risk. Research indicates that alcohol may have a greater impact on the brain development of adolescent girls than adolescent boys.

And one more brain-related risk: compared to men, women may also be more likely to experience black-outs due to alcohol consumption.

Alcohol-Related Breast Cancer

This is one risk Brian doesn’t have to worry about at all. But Amanda probably should. Studies have shown an association between alcohol consumption and the development of breast cancer. If women consume one drink per day, they have a higher chance of getting breast cancer (by about 5 to 9 percent). With every additional drink a woman consumes per day, that percentage goes up.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is “a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. It encompasses the conditions that some people refer to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and alcoholism.”

If they misuse alcohol, both Amanda and Brian are at risk of AUD. However, because women tend to experience alcohol-related problems more quickly (and at lower drinking levels) than men, Amanda may be at greater risk of developing this addiction.

Call 800-839-1686 Toll Free. Privacy Guaranteed. No Commitment.

Help is standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Who Answers?

Reducing Alcohol-Related Health Issues

What can Amanda (and all other women) do to reduce these potential health risks? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers dietary guidelines for optimal health, including a guide that recommends “adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or limit intake to one drink or less in a day for women.” And, it goes without saying, those who are pregnant or suspect they might be pregnant should not consume any alcohol.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers dietary guidelines for optimal health, including a guide that recommends “adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or limit intake to one drink or less in a day for women.”

By sticking to moderate levels of use, Amanda now knows she can reduce potential alcohol-related health risks. With this in mind, Amanda decides she doesn’t need to keep up with Brian drink-for-drink.

After all, research shows that women are better than men at learning, investing, multi-tasking, and tolerating pain. Plus, women tend to have higher IQs than men. And…if Amanda makes healthy choices, statistically speaking, she is likely to live longer than Brian. Turns out there are plenty of healthy, non-alcoholic ways she can out-do him!

If you or someone you love is experiencing a substance use disorder, help is available. Call 800-839-1686Who Answers? today to speak with a treatment specialist.

 

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on AlcoholicsAnonymous.com.

All calls are private and confidential.

START A NEW LIFE FREE OF ALCOHOL ADDICTION. CALL NOWSTART A NEW LIFE FREE OF ALCOHOL ADDICTION. CALL NOW800-839-1686
Who Answers?