Blood alcohol content, more commonly known as BAC, is the measure of the amount of alcohol present in a person’s blood, based on the volume of consumed alcohol over a given period of time. As with most DWI laws around the world, BAC is recognized as a standard tool for determining a legal limit for drunk driving.
Unknown to many is that there are numerous variables that affect a person’s BAC and not simply the amount of alcohol in his or her body.
Gender is one of the factors that can affect an individual’s BAC, as men and women are not equally affected by alcohol. According to research, the effect of alcohol on females is stronger and longer lasting. This is because women produce less alcohol dehydrogenase—an enzyme produced in the liver that breaks down the alcohol in the stomach. Alcohol is also highly water-soluble. Since women typically have lower water content compared to men, then they may reach a higher BAC—even if they consume the same amount of alcohol at a similar rate compared to males.
Body weight or size is another factor. If you are on the heavier side, you usually have more blood or more body fluids to mix with the alcohol, and so you may be likely to have a lower BAC compared to others.
Of course, your BAC is also dependent on the drink or drinks consumed. Your BAC will be higher if you consume more of a drink containing stronger alcohol content. A 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, for instance, has the same amount of alcohol as 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. The more alcohol you consume, the more alcohol will wind up in your bloodstream.
The rate alcohol is consumed will also influence your BAC. The faster alcohol is consumed, then the faster your BAC will rise. So when drinking people have to be aware of not only the number of drinks they have had but also in what time period.
The Food You Eat
The food you eat can also affect your BAC. Your BAC may be higher if you drank alcohol on an empty stomach compared to someone who has eaten before drinking. Although food in the stomach will not absorb the alcohol you drink, it may possibly slow down the rate in which the alcohol is absorbed. Of course, all alcohol consumed will eventually enter the blood.
Many medications can negatively react with alcohol, including allergy pills, cold medicine, and prescription drugs. Medications can intensify the effects of alcohol, and possibly even endanger a person’s heath. Alcohol is a depressant, and if you take any other depressant drugs, the effects of alcohol may be multiplied by ten times. Although your BAC will be the same, the effects will be a lot stronger.
Remember that the effects of any amount of consumed alcohol are dependent on much more than just the alcohol. With so many factors that can influence your BAC, it is important not to rely on counting drinks or using calculators to determine whether or not it is safe to get behind the wheel.
Source: Alcohol (BAC, Gender, etc), published on http://duijusticelink.aaa.com/for-the-public/get-educated/alcohol