Alcohol Health Effects

Alcohol is a depressant, which slows down the function of the central nervous system. After a long or tough day, most of us like to slow down and unwind with an alcoholic drink of some sort. However, one drink can quickly turn into two or three, and alcohol health effects can become a problem, so understanding how many units you’re consuming is extremely important. An estimated 7.5 million people are unaware of the damage their drinking could be causing.

Most people who have alcohol health effects are not alcoholics. They are simply people who have regularly drunk more than the recommended levels for some years. Regularly drinking over the recommended guidelines can lead to serious health problems, such as:

  • Liver problems
  • Reduced fertility
  • High blood pressure
  • Various cancers
  • Heart attacks
  • Weight gain

What are the alcohol guidelines?

With so many different drinks and glass sizes, from shots to pints and bottles – it’s easy to get confused about how many units are in your drink, and fall prey to alcohol health effects.

Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day. That’s not much more than a pint of strong larger, beer or cider (Alcohol by volume – 5.2%)

Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day. That’s no more than a standard 175ml glass of wine (ABV – 13%). As a very rough guide, there are around 4 units in a single bottle of wine.

You should try to follow these guidelines to avoid alcohol health effects.

Am I drinking too much alcohol?

You could be misusing alcohol if you:

  • You miss having a drink, especially if there is no special occasion
  • Feel like you should start cutting down
  • Other people have been mentioning it to you
  • You need to drink first thing in the morning

Easy ways to cut down alcohol consumption

  • You can still have a drink – just aim to have less gradually, and stay within the recommended guidelines
  • If you have an alcoholic drink at a certain time of day, try and break the habit by doing something different at that time. If you drink alcohol every day, try to have at least two days a week when you don’t drink anything
  • Pace yourself by sipping slowly and enjoying your drink, space your drinks out or have a soft drink or a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink
  • Swapping your usual drink with less alcohol and one with a lower calorie content

This infographic from a New Scientist study, conducted in December 2013 shows us exactly how we can benefit from cutting out alcohol for five weeks.

Please note this is a screening service and not a diagnostic service. The information collected and results gained are strictly confidential.

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For more information about our health screening programmes for companies or for individuals at home or in the Anderson Clinic, please call us on 07975 707 886, use our online contact form or email us at

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