Detecting Blood Alcohol concentration in the human body
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Consumed in moderate amounts, alcohol can have beneficial effects such as relaxation and even good digestion. After a stressful day, alcohol can be a welcome stress-reliever. However, since alcohol also suppresses the body’s vital systems, too much of it could lead to impaired judgment and physical coordination, causing blurred vision, dulled reaction time, slurred speech and drowsiness. These side effects of excessive alcohol consumption can trigger potentially dangerous behavior, especially if you intend to get behind the steering wheel and drive.
Alcohol and the Human Body
When you measure the alcohol levels in your blood, the figure is referred to as blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or blood alcohol content. BAC is a measurement by volume of alcohol: In the human body, the blood alcohol content considers the count of alcohol consumed versus alcohol eliminated. Generally, BAC is a commonly used measure for legal or medical purposes, and can be conducted through a blood test or with a breathalyzer.
How the Body Absorbs Alcohol
In understanding BAC levels, it is necessary to first understand how the human body absorbs alcohol. When you drink alcohol, it is absorbed into your stomach along with any other food you may have taken. Drinking on a full stomach causes the alcohol to get soaked into the food particles, which then go through the digestive tract and thus absorbed by the intestines. The absorption process causes the alcohol to be absorbed into your bloodstream, which transports blood to the brain.
The speed of alcohol absorption is not the same for everyone; the rate varies from person to person. Factors such as body mass, gender, the rate of alcohol ingested, the type and quantity of alcohol ingested, metabolic rate and intervals between drinks all contribute to a person’s unique rate of absorption. However, a person who drinks heavily will find that the process takes longer than for one who drinks at a moderate speed and in small quantities. It typically takes one hour for a measure of alcohol to be absorbed into the body and eventually leave the body.
Statistically, women and those who are overweight take longer to absorb and process alcohol due to their higher percentage rate of body fat. This is because alcohol stays longer in the bloodstream when there is more fat in the person’s body. For this reason, high blood alcohol levels can negatively affect health, particularly for those with obesity issues and weight problems. Any car accident attorney we have spoken with told us, habitual drinkers also face health hazards, since high levels of BAC can lead to alcohol poisoning, blackouts, and even contribute to accidents and injuries.
In order to control incidents of alcohol-related accidents and injuries, law enforcement offers and medical professionals employ the use of blood alcohol calculators known as BAC calculators to measure individual blood levels. The blood alcohol calculator does not measure the amount of drinks a person has; rather, it calculates the level of alcohol in the bloodstream by factoring in the number of drinks, percentage of alcohol, a person’s weight and the time of their last drink. It is commonly used in drunk-driving incidents and accidents involving DUI or DWI charges. If law enforcement officials find that an individual’s BAC is above the legal limit permitted by the law, the drunk driver could face charges and even jail time.
If you are a driver and have had a few drinks, it would be wise to stay off the road until your body has properly absorbed the alcohol. Only then should you even attempt to get behind the wheel. Remember: Every 40 minutes, a person dies from an alcohol-related vehicular accident. Do not let yourself become one of the statistics.
Curtis is a nurse educator who enjoy’s helping people understand more about alcohol safety and alcohol awareness.