According to a recent study by Reuters Health, 18 percent of American men and 11 percent of women in America drink more alcohol than federal dietary guidelines recommend, which is two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. The study also finds 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women are full-fledged "heavy" drinkers.
How do you know when you are drinking too much?
Drinking too much alcohol will affect your health over time in many ways. YOU may not think you're drinking too much, but if you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it's time to take a long and serious look at your drinking habits.
- Beer belly - there are a lot of calories in beer and other alcoholic beverages which can cause weight gain around the middle, otherwise known as a beer belly.
- Feeling tired - alcohol can cause fatigue, not just the next day, but long-term. That's because alcohol interferes with the body absorbing Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.
- Dehydration - too much alcohol can dehydrate you, or dry you out. It will result in your hair and nails becoming brittle and can even cause hair loss.
- Loss of memory - are you having more trouble remembering things? Heavy drinking can actually cause memory loss, and it can lead to a dementia-like illness called Wernicke-Korsakoff’s Syndrome.
- Mood change - you've often heard about how people's personalities change when they're drinking. Over time, heavy drinking can cause many people to change, becoming more irritable and moody.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 56.7 percent of whites are drinkers, compared to 42.8 percent of African Americans, 41.7 percent of Hispanics, and 37.6 percent of Asians.