Blood alcohol level
Blood alcohol level is how much alcohol you have in your blood at any time. Alcohol is broken down in your body by your liver, but your liver can only break down so much alcohol at a time. When you drink more alcohol than your liver can get rid of right away, the rest of the alcohol builds up in the bloodstream.
Police use breathalyzer tests to measure the amount of alcohol in the breath when someone is being tested for drinking and driving. The breathalyzer can tell what your blood alcohol level is.
What affects your blood alcohol level?
A person’s blood alcohol level is affected by a number of things, including:
- The number of alcoholic drinks a person has – the more you drink, the higher your blood alcohol level.
- How fast you drink – if you drink too quickly, you will reach a higher blood alcohol level than if you drank over a long period of time.
- Whether you are male or female – women generally have more body fat and less water than men so alcohol stays in the blood of a woman longer.
- Weight – the more a person weighs, the more water they will have in their body. The water dilutes the alcohol and lowers the blood alcohol level.The less you weigh the more you will be affected by alcohol.
- Food in your stomach – the alcohol is absorbed more slowly if you have something to eat before and while you drink.
Did you know gender matters?
Women feel the effects of alcohol faster than a man, even if they are the same weight and height. This is because women’s bodies contain less water to dilute the alcohol, causing women to get drunk faster than men.