Twenty-six episodes of 'The A-Files' air throughout Alcohol Awareness Month on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Alcohologist.com and AddictedMinds.com, among other web and social media sites. Episode X is on the X and Y Chromosome (gender) differences in the way we handle alcohol. If you start from the perspective that alcohol damages tissues regardless of gender, you're on the right track. Drinking over the long term is more likely to damage a woman’s health than a man’s, even if the woman has been drinking less alcohol or for a shorter length of time. First and foremost, women have a greater concern for breast cancer. Alcohol is the only documented dietary connection to an increased breast cancer risk.
Second, in 2011, the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor studied alcohol, sleep and genders. According to the lab readings, compared to men, the women slept nearly 20 minutes less and awoke more often for longer periods when they drank. Sleep is underrated in its regenerative value and how it sets up overall health.
Third, women generally are smaller, so the same amount of alcohol will be more impairing – and more damaging. But even if a man and woman are the same weight, the woman is at greater risk because they have less of the enzyme that helps break down alcohol in the body. Fourth, pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies and water is what dilutes alcohol in the bloodstream. Men are 61 percent water, women 52 percent. And that also means alcohol metabolizes slower in women, lingering longer to do more damage. This means, fifth, women are more likely than men to develop alcoholic hepatitis or die from cirrhosis, sixth, that women are more vulnerable than men to alcohol-induced brain damage, and seventh, women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease. Eighth, drinking increases a woman’s risk of becoming a victim of violence and sexual assault. Lastly, there are obvious risks to an unborn child from drinking.
Drinking and drinking problems have increased in every generation of women born after World War II, according to Columbia University. Women in their early 20s are most at risk, but affluent, fit women over 50 may be particularly prone to heavy drinking, according to a 2015 study published in the medical journal BMJ. In one, single health statement, men and women are created exactly equal: Sobriety is better to have than to lack.