What is the relationship between alcohol and health?
Drinking alcoholic beverages is something that many people partake in as a way to unwind after a long day at work (especially on the night of a salary day) or during get-togethers with friends and family. It’s one way to share camaraderie and merriment! Drinking alcohol alongside people you care about is such a fun activity that the Germans even established a globally famous festival called Oktoberfest, which focuses on beer.
Now, while drinking alcohol can be a jolly good time, it’s always good to keep in mind that alcohol consumption can have short-term and long-term effects on a person’s physical health and, at times, their mental well-being. One can even develop an alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction, which may turn into alcohol abuse if left unmanaged and untreated.
Consuming alcohol moderately has health benefits. It has mental effects like reducing anxiety and stress (mild to moderate amounts can help drinkers relax), helping raise good cholesterol in the bloodstream, lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and helping you live longer.
However, consuming alcohol also has its drawbacks, such as the following:
- It can make people gain weight (you can become obese)
- It can increase the risk of getting cancers (e.g., mouth, throat, colon, liver)
- It can result in congenital disabilities in pregnant women
- It can make you lose consciousness
- High amounts of alcohol can cause liver cirrhosis, heart failure, and brain damage
- Copious amounts can cause alcohol poisoning and death, if not through car accidents or life-threatening situations that result from poor judgment
When would I need a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test?
You will need to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) test if a person authorized to conduct the test suspects that you are intoxicated. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only had one drink, drunk regular beer or table wine, or have a high tolerance to alcohol.
Suppose an authorized BAC tester detects that you have slurred speech, impacted motor control, minor impairment, altered mood, nausea, and subtle effects like blurred vision. In that case, they will require you to take it, all the more if there are evident signs of intoxication like vomiting and major loss of balance and coordination.
How is blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measured?
If you are required to take a BAC test, the tester will do so through urine, blood, or breathalyzer tests.
Breathalyzer tests are usually conducted by police enforcers who flag down people driving beyond the speed limit, too slowly, or swerving back and forth. Those conducting this test will measure how much alcohol is in a person’s breath.
As for urine and blood tests, these will be conducted in clinical settings, and the samples will be analyzed in a laboratory.
BAC ranges are the measurements of alcohol concentration in the blood. These designations tell you which amounts are still acceptable, which aren’t good, and what symptoms a person will likely have for each level. It’s important for those conducting the tests to know these levels by heart to educate people about the dangers of having a raised alcohol level and for people being tested to understand the potential risks that can happen to them.
Here are the ranges:
- 0.0% - No alcohol in the blood.
- 0.02% - A person might feel relaxed but may also have an altered mood and a mild loss of judgment.
- 0.05% - A person may feel uninhibited and have impaired judgment, plus a lowered level of alertness.
- 0.08% - Alongside impaired judgment, the person will also have impaired reasoning and an even lower level of alertness, making it challenging to detect danger. They will also have reduced muscle coordination.
- 0.10% - A person’s thinking will become slower; by extension, they will react slower to anything. They might also have slurred speech.
- 0.15% to 0.30% - A person will likely experience a wide variety of adverse effects such as loss of balance, loss of some muscle control, confusion, nausea and vomiting, an altered mood, and drowsiness.
- 0.30% to 0.40% - The person’s life is in danger because they will likely experience alcohol poisoning and lose consciousness.
- Higher than 0.40% - Having this amount of alcohol in the blood can kill the person. They might die due to respiratory arrest, or they might lapse into a coma.
Blood Alcohol Level Chart example (sample)
Now that you know the gist of how alcohol can affect a person’s health physically and mentally, plus what blood alcohol concentration is and what BAC levels are, we’d like to introduce you to our Blood Alcohol Level Chart template.
Our template shows you blood alcohol concentration levels per weight range and the legal limit for each. There is a weight range because body weight affects the amount of alcohol content that is acceptable for a person. The template comprises two charts: one for males and one for females.
What alcohol level is too high?
Anything above 0.02% already has some symptoms and potential problems. Still, the level of BAC that a person should have should not hit 0.30% because that and higher levels are potentially life-threatening. The likelihood of lapsing into a coma or death is much higher if the BAC level reaches 0.40%.
What are the BAC limits across the United States?
In the United States, the mandated blood alcohol content limit is 0.08%. If a person undergoes a BAC test, their results show a BAC level higher than 0.08%; they are considered intoxicated.
If a person is driving a car and they have a blood alcohol content level higher than 0.08%, then they can get arrested. Depending on the state they’re located in, they might fall under the state’s zero-tolerance limit and be charged with enhanced penalties.
How can Carepatron help with BAC testing?
Thanks for reading this guide! We hope this was a great introduction or refresher about blood alcohol concentration and what the different BAC levels are. We also hope our Blood Alcohol Level Chart PDF template can help guide you when conducting BAC tests, whether a breathalyzer, urine, or blood test.
While we still have you, we’d like to ask for your time to check more of the Carepatron platform if you haven’t. We have a lot of nifty features, and we’re confident they’re good enough to convince you to consider using your number-one BAC testing and clinical documentation app! We won’t get into each one here, but we’d like to highlight one related to this guide and template: our resource library.
Our resource library houses a massive collection of clinical resources that cover numerous healthcare fields, topics, and practices. It even covers alcohol and drug testing! If you’re authorized to conduct tests related to alcohol levels, we have some guides and templates you can use, such as the Blood Alcohol Test and Alcohol Use Screening Test. These guides should help you understand how they’re conducted and how to use our templates.
It’s not just BAC testing we can help you with if you work in rehabilitating people recovering from alcohol dependence, abuse, addiction, and withdrawal. We have a sample Alcohol Withdrawal Nursing Care Plan and several cognitive behavioral therapy worksheets that are geared to help those taking rehabilitation for alcohol problems.
What’s great about all these is that they’re free, so read as many guides as you want and download as many templates as you wish.