The holidays are fast approaching and with them an increase in stress, family gatherings, holiday parties, and alcohol. I’d like to take this opportunity to return to an insightful – but concerning – CNN opinion article from the summer.
Written by journalist Jill Filipovic, the article discusses the alarming increase in alcohol-related deaths among women. While there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine with dinner or some spiked egg nog at the company Christmas party, it’s important to be aware of our alcohol intake and how it can affect our bodies.
Women and alcohol deaths, a disturbing trend
As someone who has dedicated her professional life to women’s health, I find the growing rates of alcohol-related deaths among women worrying. Especially as the rate of alcohol-related deaths among women is growing faster than the rate among men.
From 2018 to 2020, there was a 14.7% increase in alcohol-related deaths among women compared to a 12.5% increase among men.
Why is this happening?
Why are women more affected by alcohol than men?
Physiological differences mean women are more susceptible to the adverse effects of alcohol. While men tend to drink more alcohol, women’s bodies absorb more alcohol and metabolize it slower – meaning alcohol hits us faster and takes longer to wear off.
Tragically, more women than men say they binge drink (have four or more drinks in one session). And 25% of adult women say they binge drink at least once a week. So, it would seem women are drinking more and more affected by alcohol.
Alcohol’s effect on women’s health
Most people know alcohol contributes to liver disease, heart damage, and brain damage. But did you know these effects impact women earlier and at lower alcohol intake levels than men?
What can be done to help women drink responsibly?
- Education and awareness: Alcohol poses specific risks to women’s bodies. Understanding those risks allows us to make responsible choices when drinking.
- Seek professional help: There is no shame in asking for help. If you or someone you love struggles with excessive drinking, seek professional assistance.
- Create supportive communities: Creating an environment where women feel supported and can discuss these issues openly without fear of judgment is vital.
- Promote healthier alternatives: Exercise, mindfulness, and enjoyable hobbies are all healthy ways of coping with stress. Engaging in these rather than drinking could greatly benefit your health.
This study is an essential wake-up call: the increasing number of women dying from alcohol is a public health issue we must tackle collectively. For most of us, there’s no need to ban alcohol from our lives completely, but we need to understand exactly how it affects our bodies and make responsible choices.
I encourage each of you to read Ms. Filipovic’s article on CNN’s website and educate yourself on the risks of alcohol over-indulgence.
Wishing you all health and happiness,
Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi
Have questions about your health? Talk to Dr. Aliabadi!
Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist with a unique, patient-centered care philosophy. Whether you’re currently experiencing health concerns or just want to stay in control of your own health, Dr. Aliabai and her team are ready to help.
For Dr. Aliabadi, the key to a patient’s well-being isn’t in an off-the-shelf treatment plan. As an expert in women’s health, she believes each patient deserves individualized treatment and a doctor who will consider their long-term goals. She is also happy to liaise with family doctors, endocrinologists, and other healthcare providers to ensure each patient consistently progresses.
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