Understanding Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

Blood Alcohol Content Ignition Interlock

It is difficult to understand Blood Alcohol Content because there are a number of factors that change a person’s BAC. This includes the number of drinks you have, how fast you drink them, and your gender and weight. At the same time, the type of alcohol you consume does not affect your BAC. Neither does any medication you may be on. Blood alcohol content is tough to predict because each interaction you have with alcohol is different, meaning you cannot predict what one, two, or more drink could potentially do to you.

Your drink of choice does not affect your blood alcohol content. One shot of a distilled spirit, 5 ounces of wine, and 12 ounces of beer are all the same when it comes to alcohol content. You may have felt a stronger reaction as far as how drunk you got off one alcohol or another, but in the end your system responds to almost all alcohol in the same way. One variable that could change the way your body responds to a certain alcohol is what you mix it with. For instance, studies have shown alcohol mixed with diet sodas make their way into the blood stream faster than those mixed with non-diet sodas.

Other things that affect a person’s blood alcohol content can be things like how fast you are drinking the alcohol. This should come as no surprise but the faster you drink the less time your body has to metabolize the alcohol. This leads to you becoming drunk faster. Additionally, the more drinks you have the faster you will get drunk. Women are more likely to get drunk than men because women have less water and more fat per pound of body weight. Because alcohol has a tough time getting into fat cells alcohol stays in the blood of women longer than it does men. Absorption is also slowed by the presence of food in your stomach. Drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea.

If you are on other medications, or using recreational drugs of any kind you may feel more impaired when combining these drugs with alcohol. These drugs can and will affect your level of impairment, but they will not affect your actual blood alcohol content. Your BAC is only affected by the amount of alcohol you consume. All of these factors change the way you are impaired, and that can make it difficult to judge your own level of impairment.

Blood alcohol content is tough to gauge because there are so many factors that can change it. It is for that very reason that you should always be prepared before going out and drinking. Do not rely on yourself to know when you have had too much. Instead, before you leave the house have a designated driver in place. Additionally you can rely on a taxi for a safe drive home. As you become more impaired, you become less able to make sound judgment calls like whether or not you can drive home.


May 2020
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