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So, How's Your Drinking?

Posted Nov 21 2008 4:47pm

“It’s the time of year, when good friends bring cheers.” I’m not referring to the Christmas song, but what usually happen after having another birthday, i.e. not drinking moderately! Oh well, that’s already culture and tradition in the Philippines, especially among men. Filipinos drink when there is an occasion. They drink after a hard day’s work. They drink when they do not have a job. They drink when there is a problem. They drink when they are happy. They drink - PERIOD.

No wonder, beer is the third highly purchased consumer product in the country. (Infant formula is first, and cell phone load is second. I’m using 2006 data and I guess nothing has changed much since then.) Hmmm, are Filipinos alcoholics? Remember, alcoholism is already classified as a disease.


Alcohol, if taken moderately, has some good effects to health. Studies claim thatmoderate drinkers tend to have better health and live longer than those who are either abstainers or heavy drinkers. This is in addition to having fewer heart attacks and strokes, and less likely to suffer hypertension or high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, Alzheimer's disease and the common cold. Sensible drinking also appears to be beneficial in reducing or preventing diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, bone fractures and osteoporosis, kidney stones, digestive ailments, stress and depression, poor cognition and memory, Parkinson's disease, hepatitis A, pancreatic cancer, macular degeneration (a major cause of blindness), angina pectoris, duodenal ulcer, erectile dysfunction, hearing loss, gallstones, liver disease and poor physical condition in elderly.

Medical researchers generally describe moderation as one to three drinks per day. A drink is defined as a 12 ounce can or bottle of beer, a five ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink). It appears that consuming less than about half a drink per day is associated with only very small health benefits. Four or five drinks may be moderate for large individuals but excessive for small or light people. Because of their generally smaller size and other biological differences, the typical woman should generally consume 25 to 30 percent less than the average man. And, of course, recovering alcoholics, those with any adverse reactions to alcohol, and those advised against drinking by their physicians should abstain.

Researchers also say that drinking patterns appear to be as important as the amounts consumed. They say that thekey to healthy, moderate consumption is a regular, one to three drinks per day pattern. However, drinking a "week’s worth" of alcohol over a period of a few hours would be unhealthy, even dangerous, and clearly to be avoided.

So the common Filipino way of drinking with buddies may be dangerous to health.


The ill-effects of alcoholism far outweigh its advantages. Excessive consumption of alcohol affects the following various body parts and systems:

Brain and Nervous System.Alcohol slows down reactions, lowers a person’s inhibitions, and makes a person aggressive and hostile. In higher doses, it causes “blackouts”, impairs concentration, judgement, coordination and emotional reactions.

Liver.Heavy drinking damages liver cells leading to alcoholic cirrhosis, a condition where large areas of the liver are destroyed or scarred. Symptoms of liver disease include swelling of the abdomen, yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Skin.A heavy drinker’s skin often appears flushed because alcohol widens the skin’s surface blood vessels. Over time, blood vessels are unable to shrink back and the skin takes on a permanently reddish look.

Heart.Alcohol abuse damages the heart and weakens the muscular tissue, a condition known as cardiomyopathy.

Blood.Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to anemia and bleeding disorders.

Stomach.Too much alcohol damage the stomach’s lining and cause chronic stomach problems like peptic ulcer.

Reproductive System.Male drinkers often complain of impotence because alcohol dulls the nerves that control erection and ejaculation. Chronic women drinkers report lack of sexual drive and interrupted menstruation. Moreover, women who drinks may bear children with fetal alcohol syndrome. Its symptoms include low birth weight and slow development, mental retardation and learning disabilities, central nervous system dysfunction, and facial and major organ malformations.

So... how’s your drinking?

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