Many of us enjoy a tipple or two, but Somerset County Council and health partners are encouraging everyone this Alcohol Awareness Week (11 to 17 Nov) to know their limits and get everyone thinking and talking about their drinking.
This week’s theme is ‘Alcohol and me’ and aims to raise awareness of the health risks associated with drinking as well as offer tips and support for those who’d like to cut down.
Alcohol is a causal factor of more than 60 medical conditions including cancers, high blood pressure, cirrhosis and depression – and is the biggest risk factor for deaths among 15 to 49 year olds.
Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “Many people consider themselves a moderate drinker, but are actually drinking a lot more than the recommended guidelines. To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, it is safest for both men and women not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week on a regular basis. 14 units looks roughly like 6 pints of beer or 6 glasses of wine or 14 glasses of whisky – but don’t save your 14 units up. It’s best to spread them evenly out across the week. And if you are pregnant, it’s recommended you don’t drink at all.”
Dr Ed Ford, Chair of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Minehead GP, said: “Many of us enjoy a drink whether it’s a couple of pints in the pub after work, wine with our dinner or a few drinks on the sofa watching television. But it is all too easy to drink more than we should.
“An easy way to reduce the risks to your health is to have a couple of drink-free days each week. The best evidence suggests trying to make it two consecutive alcohol-free days a week if you can.”
Top tips to reduce alcohol intake include making a goal ie do you want to stop completely or drink only at weekends? Keep a diary to record your drinking, have days off from alcohol, drink water to keep your body hydrated and tell your friends and family of goals – they can be a great support.
A ten minute ‘One You’ quiz is also available online at www.healthysomerset.co.uk/how-are-you/ which gives a personalised health score based on your lifestyle behaviours, including alcohol. Once completed, a personalised action plan can offer tips and advice on small changes which all add up to make big differences.