Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Doctor, doctor!

It's been a while! That last post I wrote from Vegas was my last healthy day for almost a month! Apparently, not EVERYTHING that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Because I caught the nastiest cold while I was there and it clung to me like a retiree to a slot machine.

Much has happened in the last few weeks.

1) Amy Winehouse's death has been ruled alcohol poisoning. Her blood alcohol level was .4% - five times the legal drunk driving limit. She had recently quit drinking altogether trying to get control of her addiction. But after not being able to tolerate total abstinence, she started drinking again - hard. Four empty bottles of vodka were found in her home. Again, Amy, rest in peace.

2) A plethora of research is coming out recently about the effects of alcohol on our health, including a U.S. study that claims women who have three to six drinks a week show a slight increased risk of breast cancer. Good reason to drink, say, twenty. (Just kidding.)

3) The Canadian Public Health Association (there's a healthy sounding club!) concludes that the mild benefits of alcohol do not outweigh the costs to our health.

4) According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (I can't tell from the name if this is a club full of drinkers or tee-totallers - but it don't sound fun) claims that underage drinking can lead to alcohol abuse later in life (go figure ... I had my first drink at 13 ... does the name Drew Barrymore mean anything to anyone?). Where do you think they're getting this groundbreaking research?

5) According to the World Health Organization, alcohol-related accidents are a growing concern, including burns, car accidents, falls, and death-by-booze-cruise. Imagine - that health concerns caused by drinking are actually getting worse in this day and age. It seems hard to believe.

I could go on and on with these studies that have been compiled by CBC-TV's "The National" for a series they're doing on alcohol and your health. And I will share more, but for now, I'll leave you with one final tidbit.

6) I went to my first physical in about five years a couple weeks ago. Flying colors on the blood pressure and pap smear (sorry, boys ... and girls, frankly). Even with a cold, the eyes, ears, nose and throat checked out. And I'm waiting for my blood work. But the highlight (well, besides the pap, I mean ... duh) was when the doctor asked me how many drinks I have a week. Fifteen, I ventured (though it's probably more than that ... especially when I'm in Vegas). But I told her I take two months off a year and I don't drink every day. Even so, she said women should try to keep it down to the single digits. Less than ten drinks a week. For men, two drinks a day is fine. I told her I'd work my way up ... down? ... to it.


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