The hazards of excessive drinking and how to be safe during the summer

May 2011

The consequences of excessive alcohol consumption may be greater throughout the summer; when the weather is warmer it is easy to become dehydrated even before you’ve had an alcoholic drink, so it is essential to enjoy alcohol in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption in hot weather could actually contribute to rapid alcoholic dehydration causing both heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Remember too that it’s not just a hangover you should worry about after drinking; the long-term affects on your health can be significant.

Dr Subramaniam Ramakrishnan, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Spire Cheshire Hospital, recently appeared on ITV’s This Morning to talk about the devastating effects alcohol can have on young people. He said “There is no doubt that we have a major problem with alcohol in this country. Patients who do succumb are younger than before and more commonly female.”

Fortunately, the vast majority of us are able to drink both in moderation and a socially acceptable manner. Guidelines of no more than 3-4 units per day for men and 2-3 units per day for women (1 unit is equivalent to half a pint of ordinary strength beer, or one standard size glass of normal strength wine) are suggested. However, in England there are many people who drink more than these guidelines suggest and are potentially putting their health at risk as a direct result. Excessive alcohol consumption can result in a wide range of health problems ranging from high blood pressure, depression and anxiety disorders through to heart, pancreas or liver disease and increased risk of a variety of cancers. 

Dr Ramakrishnan continues, “The level of alcohol consumption in a population is closely linked to its availability and affordability. In this country, alcohol is now more widely available than ever before with 24 hour shopping and extended licensing hours. Although the price of alcohol increases with each budget, our incomes are generally rising faster meaning alcohol is relatively cheaper and more affordable than ever. In my view, alcohol consumption is increasing rapidly in Britain”.

Dr Ramakrishnan concludes, “If you are worried that you may have a drink problem, go and talk to your GP in the first instance!”

Click here to view the consultant profile of Consultant Gastroenterologist Dr Subramaniam Ramakrishnan

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