On average, six people die of alcohol poisoning each day in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 80 percent of alcohol poisoning deaths are among adults ages 35 to 64. About 76 percent of those who die from alcohol poisoning are men. Alcohol poisoning is caused by drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time.
Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death.
Alcohol poisoning deaths affect people of all ages but are most common among middle-aged adults and men.
Life-threatening signs of alcohol poisoning include:
- Inability to wake up
- Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
- Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
- Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness
What is a "standard drink" in the US?
- 12 ounces of beer 5% Alcohol
- 8 ounces of malt liquor 7% Alcohol
- 5 ounces of wine 12% Alcohol
- 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits 40% alcohol (80 proof)e.g., vodka, whiskey, gin, rum
SOURCE: National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
- Don't start drinking or increase the amount you drink on the basis of potential health benefits. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation - up to 1 drink a day for women or up to 2 drinks a day for men.