Why Happy Hour May Not Be So Happy


You may understand the immediate risks of drinking alcohol, like the impact it could have on your weight, your relationships, your ability to drive, and your cognitive function. For many people, alcohol is a part of daily life, social gatherings, and celebrations. And most who drink regularly do so without realizing their long-term risk for breast cancer increases with alcohol consumption. A new study reveals that even one drink a day can raise your risk. Don’t ignore the long-term effects alcohol can have on your health.

Evidence from Research

A research team from the American Society of Clinical Oncology examined several studies that found a correlation between alcohol and cancer. Through extensive research, they discovered that 3.5% of cancer-related deaths were a direct result of alcohol consumption. Moreover, 5.5% of new cancer occurrences were attributed to drinking alcohol. While the risk for developing breast cancer was greater among those who drink heavily over a long period of time, research indicates that moderate drinking still puts you at risk. While this research warns us that even one drink a day increases our risk for breast cancer, the alarming fact is that heavy-drinking can delay or negatively impact cancer treatment.

Defining Moderate and Excessive Drinking

One drink includes 12-ounces of beer, 8-ounces of malt liquor, 5-ounces of wine, 1.5-ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor or spirits. Excessive drinking breaks down to either binge-drinking or heavy-drinking. Binge-drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined for women consuming four or more drinks during one occasion. For men, binge drinking is consuming a minimum of five drinks at one time. Heavy drinking for women means consuming eight or more drinks within one week. For men, the drink count is a minimum of 15 drinks in a week. Moderate alcohol use describes women who consume one alcoholic beverage and men who consume two drinks a day.

Short Term Risks of Drinking

Those who drink excessively are at risk for immediate problems like violence, car accidents, fatal injuries, falling, or drowning. Excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, risky sexual behavior, and can cause miscarriage or stillbirth for pregnant women. While these risks are most commonly understood, the number of people who drink excessively show a lack of consideration for these potential outcomes. It’s time to take these risks seriously so that you avoid personal injury or harm someone else.

Long-Term Risks of Drinking

We’ve already shown you that drinking either heavily or moderately puts you at risk for a breast cancer diagnosis, but there are other long-term health issues of which you need to be aware. Mental health problems like depression and anxiety are often linked to alcohol use. Alcohol consumption leads to chronic health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and liver disease. The development of dementia and memory issues as well as social problems, family issues, and difficulty holding a job are all long-term risks of drinking alcohol. The best way to protect yourself from these health issues, including breast cancer, is to limit your consumption of alcohol. Your life is more precious than a beverage. 

If you have concerns about your alcohol habits or have questions about your risk for breast cancer, schedule an appointment at The Woman’s Clinic today.

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