Safer Drinking

We are happy to provide care for our patients with alcohol problems.  We use a shared care model with specialist nurses from Gateshead Drug & Alcohol Team.  If you have any problems with alcohol please discuss this with one of our doctors.

Most people who have alcohol-related health problems aren’t alcoholics. They’re simply people who have regularly drunk more than the recommended levels for some years.

The NHS recommends:

  • Men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day.
  • Women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units a day.

‘Regularly’ means drinking these amounts every day or most days of the week. Regularly drinking above recommended daily limits risks damaging your health.

There’s no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink below recommended daily limits, the risks of harming your health are low. And it’s certainly not only people who get drunk or binge drink who are at risk. Most people who regularly drink more than the NHS recommends don’t see any harmful effects at first.

Alcohol’s hidden harms usually only emerge after a number of years. And by then, serious health problems can have developed. Liver problems, reduced fertility, high blood pressure, increased risk of various cancers and heart attack are some of the numerous harmful effects of regularly drinking above recommended levels.

The effects of alcohol on your health will depend on how much you drink. The more you drink, the greater the health risks.

What’s a unit?

  • Pint of 4% lager: 2.3 units
  • 175ml glass of 13% wine: 2.3 units
  • 25ml glass of 40% single spirit and mixer: 1 unit

Some of the dangers

  • Men are 1.8 to 2.5 times as likely to get cancer of the mouth, neck and throat; women are 1.2 to 1.7 times as likely. 
  • Women are 1.2 times as likely to get breast cancer.
  • Men are twice as likely to develop liver cirrhosis, and women 1.7 times as likely.
  • Men are 1.8 times as likely to develop high blood pressure, and women are 1.3 times as likely.

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