Liverpool Community Health (LCH) NHS Trust’s Alcohol Team is encouraging all Merseyside residents and employees to think about what they are drinking during Alcohol Awareness Week.
Taking place from 19-25 November, the awareness week aims to encourage people to think and about the health risks and social problems related to regularly drinking more alcohol than the recommended safe amounts.
The government advises that people should not drink more than the daily guidelines of 3-4 units of alcohol for men (equivalent to a pint and a half of average strength beer), and 2-3 units of alcohol for women (equivalent to a medium glass of wine).
That is equivalent to 21 units a week for men and 14 units a week for women, but contrary to popular belief, you cannot save up your daily allowance of alcohol units for a night out.
However, in the United Kingdom, just under a third of men (31%) and one in five women (20%) regularly drink more than this recommended safe amount.
The short term health risks of drinking too much alcohol can include impaired judgement leading to accidents and injuries, sexual difficulties such as impotence, short term memory loss, vomiting, and a loss of consciousness.
Drinking heavily on a regular basis can also lead to weight gain, and is frequently associated with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
It can also contribute to far more serious health problems, such as liver disease, osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), stomach ulcers, infertility, heart disease, raised blood pressure, strokes, dementia, cancer and brain damage.
Kellie Cureton, Health Promotion specialist for Liverpool Community Health, explained: “Whilst there is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional drink, during Alcohol Awareness Week, we want to encourage everyone to think a bit more about how much, and how often, they are drinking.
“Often people think that sensible drinking advice is just for those who are binge drinking binge in bars and clubs at the weekends, but regularly drinking even just a little bit over the recommended daily amount of alcohol can also seriously affect your health.
“Making changes to your drinking habits doesn’t necessarily mean giving up alcohol altogether.
“Often, making just a few small cut backs to how much and how often you are drinking can make a big difference to your health.”
Five simple tips for making sure you’re drinking sensibly during Alcohol Awareness Week include:
- Try not to drink more than the recommended daily amount of units which is 3-4 for men, and 2-3 for women
- Aim to have at least two completely alcohol-free days every week
- If you are out drinking with friends, don’t buy “rounds” - drink at your own pace
- Stick to drinks that are lower in strength if you are having a few
- Try to drink a soft drink or glass of water between each alcoholic drink
It is also recommended that pregnant women or women who are trying to conceive should not drink alcohol at all.
For further information and advice on alcohol, including how many units of alcohol and calories are in different types of drinks, plus lots of tips on safer drinking, visit www.whatsyours-liverpool.nhs.uk.