April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc, since 1987, Alcohol Awareness Month is observed to increase public awareness and understanding aimed at reducing the stigma that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help. This year’s theme is Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow. For more information, visit http://www.ncadd.org/index.php/programs-a-services/alcohol-awareness-month.

Potential health benefits of alcohol?
Some studies have shown that light to moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the results are mixed. It seems that most of the positive effects from drinking alcohol involve increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels—by up to 12%. It appears that red wine is the most cardioprotective form of alcohol.

Another study that looked at 38,500 people found that those people who drank a moderate amount of alcohol had the best A1c (average blood glucose) levels, when compared to people who either abstained from alcohol or drank heavily. Some evidence also shows that moderate drinking reduced the incidence of diabetes development by 33%–56%.

Amount of alcohol
No one would ever suggest to people who currently do not drink alcohol that they should pick up the habit. However, if you already drink alcohol, you must limit yourself to one or two drinks per day.

A drink is:
-12 fluid ounces (fl oz) of beer
-5 fl oz of wine
-1½ fl oz of 80-proof distilled spirits
-1 fl oz of 100-proof distilled spirits

Individuals who absolutely should not drink
It is recommended that people with the following conditions abstain from alcohol consumption:
-If you have a tendency to become hypoglycemic or were unable to recognize symptoms of hypoglycemia in the past
-If you have diabetic complications, such as neuropathy or retinopathy, because alcohol is proven to worsen these conditions
– If you have cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, because alcohol consumption increases triglycerides and blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke
– If you are trying to lose weight, because alcohol is a concentrated source of calories and can increase appetite
-Alcohol is known to increase the risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophageal, liver, colorectal, and breast cancers. It may increase the risk of pancreatic and lung cancers. The risk increases as the quantity of alcohol consumed increases. Risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus are increased even more drastically when a person both smokes and drinks.

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