Alcohol has been an aspect of human existence for millennia. Over the years, it has acted as a disinfectant and anesthetic in the medical field. In business, it acts as a lubricant for high-powered deals, and socially it helps overcome awkward moments. In fact, whether or not to take up alcohol is becoming an ever more complex issue, especially in light of recent studies that link alcohol to a higher risk of some types of cancer. In one of these reports, researchers discovered that women who consumed as little as one drink per day elevated their risk of breast, liver, mouth, throat, and colorectal cancers. On the other hand, studies dating back to the 1970s show a positive correlation between moderate amounts of alcohol, wine in particular, and increased heart health.
What does this all mean for the average person? It may be worth noting that there is really no such thing as an average person, just outcomes spread out over a large population sample. For example, consider a study of nearly 20,000 Japanese males aged from 40 to 69 demonstrating that the heart-health benefits of light to moderate drinking were more efficacious in subjects with a strong social support mechanism. Researchers believe that those who tend towards social drinking generally engage in healthier lifestyles.
However, there are a few guidelines for the term “moderate” and “excessive.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Alcohol Team alcohol misuse encompasses more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and in excess of two per day for men. Of course, it is not medical secret that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a decline in relationships, work productivity, and overall general health. Besides contributing to the risk of cancer, moderate consumption of aalcohol has other effects as well. According to the American Diabetes Association, drinking can cause hypoglycemia shortly after consumption and prolong for 8-12 hours afterwards. They recommend that diabetics monitor blood sugar levels to ensure safe levels.
Most people are aware of the potential short-term effects of drinking alcohol including the nasty experience of a hangover. These effects can vary a great deal from person to person and because each person is different and has different family medical histories, whether or not to consume alcohol is best taken on a case by case basis.