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Video:Health Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Women

with Dr. Ingrid Mathieu

Alcohol abuse affects a woman's health differently than a man's. Watch this About.com video to learn why and interesting statistics concerning the health effects of alcohol abuse on women.See Transcript

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Transcript:Health Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Women

Hello, my name is Dr. Ingrid Mathieu. I am a clinical psychologist and today we'll be discussing the health effects of alcohol abuse on women.

Why Women React Differently to Alcohol Abuse

The center for disease control and prevention reports that approximately 8% of women will meet criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.

Women’s drinking patterns are different from men’s – especially when it comes to how much and how often they drink. 

Women’s bodies react differently to alcohol because

  • Women typically weigh less than men
  • Pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men do, and alcohol dissolves in water.  So when a man and woman of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol – the woman’s blood alcohol level will be higher – putting her at greater risk for harm.

Women typically start to have alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels than men and develop long-term complications of alcohol dependence more rapidly than men.

Health Risks for Women Include:

  • Liver Damage – Women who drink are more likely to develop liver inflammation than men.
  • Heart Disease – Women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men.
  • Breast Cancer – Women who have about one drink per day also have an increased chance of developing breast cancer compared to women who do not drink at all.
  • Pregnancy – There are many potential complications from drinking during pregnancy and therefore any drinking during pregnancy is risky. 

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