How does blood alcohol level affect the body and behavior?

Health Hazards and Risks Read more from
Chapter Health and Medicine

The number of centenarians in the United States has increased steadily over the decades. The most recent census estimates (2009), indicate there were 55,266 centenarians. Although the Census Bureau asks for age information in more than one way, the U.S. Census Bureau cautions that the figures may be somewhat skewed since birth certificates were not common until the 1930s.

The effects of drinking alcoholic beverages depend on body weight and the amount of actual ethyl alcohol consumed. The level of alcohol in the blood is calculated in milligrams (one milligram equals 0.035 ounce) of pure (ethyl) alcohol per deciliter (3.5 fluid ounces), commonly expressed in percentages.

Number of Drinks Blood Alcohol Level Effect of Drinks
1 0.02-.03% Changes in behavior, coordination, and ability to think clearly
2 0.05% Sedation or tranquilized feeling
3 0.08–0.10% Legal intoxication in many states
5 0.15–0.20% Person is obviously intoxicated and may show signs of delirium
12 0.30–0.40% Loss of consciousness
24 0.50% Heart and respiration become so depressed that they cease to function and death follows


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