Blood Alcohol Content
The ratio of alcohol to blood volume (or the amount of alcohol in a person's blood) can be estimated based on a person's gender, weight and the number of drinks consumed over a certain amount of time. Use the charts below to check what your BAC would be after consuming alcohol over any given period of time. Use the information below the charts to check the effects of alcohol on the body at each BAC.
You can also try the BAC Calculator on the Health and Counseling site.
Men's BAC Chart
Women's BAC Chart
While this chart is a good general guideline, every individual reacts differently to alcohol. The chart doesn't take into account your individual body composition, your use of medicine, your mood changes, or your personal metabolism rate. Just keep in mind that your body processes alcohol at a constant rate of 0.5 oz. Per hour, regardless of how many ounces you consume. Therefore, the faster you drink, the higher your blood alcohol level will be.
How your body reacts to alcohol
BAC .02%-.03%: You feel mildly relaxed and maybe a little lightheaded. Your inhibitions are slightly loosened, and whatever mood you were in before you started drinking may be mildly intensified.
BAC .05%-.06%: You feel warm and relaxed. If you're the shy type when you're sober, you lose your feelings of shyness. Your behavior may become exaggerated, making you talk louder or faster or act bolder than usual. Emotions are intensified, so your good moods are better and your bad moods are worse. You may also feel a mild sense of euphoria.
BAC .08%-.09%: You believe you're functioning better than you actually are. At this level, you may start to slur your speech. Your sense of balance is probably off, and your motor skills are starting to become impaired. Your ability to see and hear clearly is diminished. Your judgment is being affected, so it's difficult for you to decide whether or not to continue drinking. Your ability to evaluate sexual situations is impaired. Students may jokingly refer to this state of mind as beer goggles, but this BAC can have serious repercussions.
BAC .10%-.12%: At this level, you feel euphoric, but you lack coordination and balance. Your motor skills are markedly impaired, as are your judgment and memory. You probably don't remember how many drinks you've had. Your emotions are exaggerated, and some people become loud, aggressive, or belligerent. If you're a guy, you may have trouble getting an erection when your BAC is this high.
BAC .14%-.17%: Your euphoric feelings may give way to unpleasant feelings. You have difficulty talking, walking, or even standing.Your judgment and perception are severely impaired. You may become more aggressive, and there is an increased risk of accidentally injuring yourself or others. This is the point when you may experience a blackout.
BAC .20%: You feel confused, dazed, or otherwise disoriented. You need help to stand up or walk. If you hurt yourself at this point, you probably won't realize it because you won't feel pain. If you are aware you've injured yourself, chances are you won't do anything about it. At this point you may experience nausea and/or start vomiting (keep in mind that for some people, a lower blood alcohol level than .20% may cause vomiting). Your gag reflex is impaired, so you could choke if you do throw up. Since blackouts are likely at this level, you may not remember any of this.
BAC .25%: All mental, physical, and sensory functions are severely impaired. You're emotionally numb. There's an increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falling or other accidents.
BAC .30%: You're in a stupor. You have little comprehension of where you are. You may suddenly pass out at this point and be difficult to awaken. (But don't kid yourself: Passing out can also occur at lower BALs. But, at lower blood alcohol levels, you may decide you've had enough to drink and go "pass out." With an alarming BAL like .30%, your body will be deciding to pass out for you.)
BAC .35%: This blood alcohol level also happens to be the level of surgical anesthesia. You may stop breathing at this point.
BAC .40%: You are probably in a coma. The nerve centers controlling your heartbeat and respiration are slowing down, s-l-o-w-i-n-g d-o-w-n, s-l-o-w-i-n-g d-o-w-n. it's a miracle if you're not dead.
What is a blackout?
A blackout can occur when an exceeded amount of alcohol has been consumed. The alcohol causes your brain to stop forming new memories because it is overloaded. The alcohol may not affect your motor function or your ability to do regular-everyday things like walking, talking and driving a car, but when you wake up the next morning you will remember NOTHING of the events that occurred while blacked out.
What happens when someone is blacked out?
The brain stops forming memories! Thats why when someone blacks out, they cant remember what happened the next day.
What is the difference between passing out and blacking out?
1. Pass out: when your body is doused with too much alcohol and your bodily functions such as talking, walking, and being awake cease to work. Basically your body makes you go to sleep to protect itself from damage.
2. Blackout: you can walk, talk, and drive a car but are not conscious of what you are doing and wont remember anything the next day because you did not form any memories while you were blacked out.
Blackouts are scary Here are some tips to help prevent them:
- Don't chug.
- Space your drinks out, so avoid shot competitions and drinking games.
- Don't drink on an empty stomach, make sure you eat a solid meal during or before drinking.
- Get sufficient sleep. This is probably the most difficult, but it can really help your body when you drink
The Ultimate Test - Think that your friend is blacked out?
Here is a game to test it: Give your friend a list of 4-5 unrelated objects and make them repeat them back to you. Then distract them with another conversation. In 5 minutes, ask them to repeat the objects back to you. If they can only remember 1 or none of the objects, there is a good chance they are blacked out. If they can remember all five, they may question your sobriety but at least everyone is safe.
If You Drink
If you decide to drink, it is important to know how much you're really drinking. If you drink one 40oz beer and your friend drinks one 16oz beer, have you both really had one drink?
A serving of alcohol delivers ounce of pure ethanol. Each of the following is considered one standard drink:
- 12 oz. beer
- 5-6 oz wine
- 1.25 oz. hard liquor
In other words, one 12oz beer is equal to one 5-6oz glass of wine, which is equal to 1.25oz of hard liquor:
If you decide to drink, there are a few helpful tips that can help you avoid risky situations and even reduce the negative effects of drinking i.e. hangovers.
- Don't drink more than 1-2 standard drinks per hour.
- Don't mix alcohols, beer, and/or wine.
- Eat a full meal before drinking.
- Don't bring credit to the bars. Bring some cash, and if it runs out, you're done.
- Don't mix alcohol with other drugs (including perscription drugs).
- Know your limits and stick to them.
- Don't let others pressure you to drink more.
- Keep track of the amount being consumed. Since alcohol impedes memory, simply relying on the memory may not work. For example, save the tabs from the beer cans to keep track. If you have a pen or sharpie with you (in your purse, perhaps), make tick marks on your hand for every standard drink you've had.
- Alternate alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks.
- Drink a non-alcoholic beverage which looks like an alcoholic drink (i.e. soda water with lime on the rocks).
- Leave a situation if it's unsafe.
- Party with friends you trust.
- There is no such thing as a safe drinking game. The goal of every drinking game is to get drunk quickly. During a drinking game, your blood alcohol rises so rapidly that your body does not have time to react. The body can't eliminate excess alcohol from your system efficiently and high levels of alcohol build up in your blood, sometimes resulting in acute alcohol poisoning.
- It is unsafe to continue drinking after throwing up.
- If you don't want to drink -- don't.
Alcohol & Nutrition
The Fattening Power of Alcohol
As for the calories of alcohol, this energy source should probably be counted as fat in the diet because metabolic interactions occur between fat and alcohol in the body. When the body has both fat and alcohol to burn, it gets ride of the toxic alcohol while burning it off as fuel. This causes the fat to stay in storage. Alcohol promotes fat storage in the abdominal area causing the "beer belly" effect, along with being stored in the thighs and legs. There are 7 calories per gram of alcohol, one ounce of alcohol represents about half an ounce of fat.
Calories in Alcoholic Beverages and Mixers per 12 ounces:
- Regular Beer: 150 cals
- Light Beer: 100 cals
- Bahama Mama: 237 cals
- Long Island Iced Tea: 381 cals
- Frozen Margarita: 468 cals
- Tequila Sunrise: 594 cals
- Mudslide: 804 cals
- Blue Hawaiian: 837 cals
Sometimes it helps to see a visual.
Five 16oz beers has as much fat as seven cake donuts:
Five rum & cokes equal four hot fudge sundaes:
Alcohol poisoning symptoms:
- Person is passed out and cannot be awakened
- Person has cold, clammy, or bluish skin color
- Person has slow or irregular breaths
- Less than 8 breaths per minute OR more than 10 seconds in between breaths
- Person is vomiting and does not wake up
If you notice someone exhibiting any of the above symptoms, you must intervene. Here's how:
- Difficulty breathing: If the person is not breathing normally or if he or she stops breathing, head to the emergency room immediately.
- Vomiting: Try to keep the person sitting up. If they insist on lying down make sure they do so in a fetal position. Keep an eye on them to guard against choking.
- Passed out: Try to wake the person up. If you can't, put the person in a fetal position and call 911 or your college emergency service.
- Is injured: Take the person to the emergency room. He or she may not feel pain and tell you they do not require medical assistance. Do not believe it; insist that he or she see a doctor.
- Has a fever or the chills,or skin that is cold, pale, bluish in color or sweaty: Call a doctor, describe these symptoms, and get advice on what to do.
- Is exhibiting threatening behavior that may endanger others: Notify the party's host or a bouncer at the bar. Call the police if the behavior is especially volatile.
- Seems to be paranoid,confused, or disoriented, or has difficulty standing or speaking: Take the person home and make sure he or she does not drink any more alcohol. Try to keep the person awake and calm. If symptoms persist, call a doctor.
Emergency Resource Numbers
- DU Campus Safety: 303.871.3000
- Denver Emergency: 911
Check out these websites for more information about alcohol.
- http://www.factsontap.org/factsontap/students.htm -Doesn't work well on Google Chrome