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What affects your blood alcohol concentration?

When you go out drinking, you may choose your drinks based on how much alcohol they contain. A beer, for example, has less alcohol in it than a mixed drink with vodka. The truth is that the drink you have isn't the only thing that affects the alcohol concentration in your blood.

One major factor that could affect you is your weight. If you weigh more, it will take longer for alcohol to affect you. Smaller individuals, especially women, tend to become intoxicated faster due to their lower weights.

Another thing that affects people is if they are eating. Eating is important. If you eat with alcohol, you slow down the absorption of alcohol as it heads into the blood. Essentially, you delay it and prevent it from rapidly increasing your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If you do not eat before drinking, the alcohol goes straight to your bloodstream, making it more likely for you to have a higher BAC faster.

There is no easy answer to explain how long it takes a person to go from a .00 percent BAC to .08 percent. Since everyone has different states of health, ages, weights and other factors that impact them, everyone is different when it comes to the alcohol needed to become legally drunk. If you're planning to drive after drinking, keep in mind that you can carry a small, portable Breathalyzer.

Testing your breath 15 to 20 minutes after your last drink helps you understand how intoxicated you are and if it's a good idea to get behind the wheel. Doing this could help you avoid a DUI.

Source: BACTrack, "How Many Drinks Does it Take to Reach .08?," accessed Feb. 28, 2018

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