Health Spotlight: BAC

Many teens have heard the term “BAC” before, but do most know what it stands for or what biological processes are going on in relation to BAC? Today on the Health Spotlight, we’re going to find out all about Blood Alcohol Content.

//Blood Alcohol Content//The concentration of alcohol in the blood, measured, by volume as a percentage. Sometimes referred to as Blood Alcohol Concentration. SOURCE

Alcohol is absorbed by the body very quickly and can end up in the blood stream within minutes of consuming an alcoholic beverage. BAC tests are usually administered in cases where health professionals or law enforcement suspect that a person is legally intoxicated (in the state of GA, a BAC of 0.08 means you are drunk while driving). BAC can be tested using blood tests, urine analysis, and Breathalyzer tests. For underage folks, a BAC of 0.02 might get you into big trouble.

Though every person reacts to alcohol differently (based on weight, food consumed, gender, age, etc.), ascending BAC levels will be met with bodily reactions regardless of circumstances. As your BAC increases, you will likely experience sedation, blurred speech and vision, trouble walking, memory loss, trouble breathing, and even death (at extreme levels of blood alcohol concentration).

Please remember, alcohol isn’t something that just goes to your stomach and is expelled. Alcohol is absorbed into your blood, urine, and even comes out in your breath (hence, the Breathalyzer tests). As well, blood isn’t the only body element that has to deal with loads of alcohol. So does your liver. Next week’s Health Spotlight will deal with alcohol’s effects on the liver. Be sure to catch that post!

Fore more information about BAC, check out these sources:

>> Web MD

>> Georgia Criminal Defense

>> Wikipedia

Health Spotlight: Alcohol Poisoning

What exactly is alcohol poisoning? Why is it a big deal? Today’s Health Spotlight is going to shed some light on this subject.

Alcohol Poisoning // A serious and sometimes deadly consequence of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period of time. Breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and the body’s gag reflex can all be affected which can lead to coma or death.

Because alcohol depresses many of the body’s natural processes, it can cause breathing to slow down. Alcohol can irritate the stomach, causing the drinker to vomit. If too much alcohol has been consumed and breathing and gag reflex are hindered, the person can aspirate on their own vomit, causing them to choke and die.

When a person is suffering from alcohol poisoning, the BAC (blood alcohol content) is toxic and poisonous to the body. The drinker’s liver cannot properly process all the alcohol being consumed (due to the large amount in such a short period of time), so the extra ends up traveling through the drinker’s blood stream, causing the negative bodily effects outlined above.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning //

1. Confusion

2. Hypothermia (the drinker’s body temperature drops rapidly)

3. Pale, bluish skin

4. Drinker is unresponsive, but conscious

5. Drinker passes out

6. Very slow breathing

7 Vomiting

Extreme Signs //

8. Heart attack

9. Aspiration of vomit

10. Seizures (due to rapidly dropping blood glucose levels)

11. Breathing may stop altogether

12. Extreme dehydration

As you can tell from these signs, alcohol poisoning is nothing to play around with and it can be hard to tell if a drinker is merely drunk or is suffering from early stages of alcohol poisoning.

If you suspect that one of your friends is suffering from any of these symptoms, immediately call for emergency medical help and have them taken to the hospital. Alcohol poisoning CAN and DOES lead to death in most cases if left untreated.

Helpful Sources // Mayo Clinic / Medical News Today /