Four million women in this country drink too much, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health. So, what does that mean? How much is too much?
Although studies show a little alcohol can have some health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease, the NIH says it has determined that for men, moderate alcohol means no more than two drinks a day and for women, the study warns that more than one drink a day poses three times the risk to men. This difference because a woman's body has a different water composition, allowing women to become addicted to alcohol faster.
"Even a woman and a man who are the same size, the woman will have less water in her body. And the alcohol is diluted in the water, so if there's less water, it is at a higher concentration," says Dr. Desiree Soter-Pearsall, internal medicine.
According to the study, women who start drinking at a young age or become heavy drinkers become more vulnerable to major health problems, like osteoporosis, infertility and cancer. Plus they say women are less likely to get help for their addiction than men. So how do you know if you have a drinking problem? The experts say if your drinking causes problems in a relationship, legal trouble or health problems, then it's time to get help.
If you think you need help, Alcoholics Anonymous has a toll free number with operators standing by 24 hours a day to give you treatment information or meeting times for all substance related issues. Just call 1-800-851-3291.