Category Archives: Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Female Reproductive Health and Workplace Hazards

femrep1

Considerations of female reproductive health are important in the work environment. Many different work settings pose risks to women’s reproductive systems. Generally effects can be divided into those impacting a women’s reproductive system itself and those impacting the well-being of a pregnancy or baby. An additionally important point is these risks to the female reproductive system often bring consequences to one’s overall health.

simpons-toxic-labels

How do workplace hazards create or worsen women’s reproductive health?

  • Chemicals such as pesticides, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), carbon disulfide or organic solvents can disrupt the menstrual cycle and female hormone production. If you suffer from irregular periods, consider whether any work-related exposure could be a contributor.
  • Approximately 10-15% of couples are infertile. Workplace chemical exposures can produce damage to a woman’s eggs (or a man’s sperm), and they can cause changes to female hormones with subsequent drop-offs in the ability to produce a normal menstrual cycle and have normal uterine growth.

How do workplace hazards create or worsen women’s general health as a result of impacting reproductive health?

  • Remember that hormones affect other parts of your body and health other than your reproductive system. Therefore even if you aren’t concerned with becoming pregnant, cause for concern still exists. Imbalances of estrogen and progesterone caused by some workplace exposures can also increase your risk to:
    • Cancers such as endometrial or breast
    • Heart disease
    • Osteoporosis
    • Symptoms of menopause
    • Tissue loss or weakening

femrep5

How do workplace hazards pose risks during pregnancy?

  • It should come as no surprise that certain exposures can cause birth defects or miscarriages. You should be aware of the timing of exposures and subsequent potential effects. Exposure during the first 3 months of pregnancy might cause a birth defect or a miscarriage. Exposure during the last 6 months of pregnancy could slow the baby’s growth, affect its brain development, or cause premature labor.

Breastfeeding-600x330

How do workplace hazards pose risks to babies?

Some chemicals can get into breast milk and others can be transmitted to infants through contact occurring on a parents clothes, skin or hair. Of course, not all chemicals get into breast milk, and not all chemicals that do will harm your baby. Here are a few chemicals that can get into breast milk:

  • Chemicals from smoke, fires, or tobacco
  • Heavy metals (e.g. lead, mercury)
  • Organic solvents and volatile organic chemicals (e.g. bromochloroethane, dioxane, formaldehyde and perchloroethylene)
  • Radioactive chemicals used in hospitals for radiation therapy (e.g as Iodine-131)

Some harmful chemicals have been measured in breast milk at levels that could harm the baby. Lead is one example. Lead in breast milk can harm a baby’s brain. If you work with lead, ask your doctor to measure your blood lead level to see if there is too much lead in your body to safely breastfeed your baby.

For all of these considerations, talk to your employer or your workplace safety officer about ways you can reduce or eliminate your exposure. This might include using personal protective equipment (PPE) or changing your work duties. If you use gloves, protective clothing, a respirator, or other PPE, be sure they are right for you and the chemical to which you are exposed.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Genital/Urinary, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: The Health Benefits of Red Wine

It’s the start of a new week, and we’re coming off a lot of Straight, No Chaser posts on alcohol, so let’s just address some questions you’ve asked about the benefits of alcohol.

So alcohol is good for me now (especially after all those other blog posts)?

red-wine-health-benefits

Red wine has been known to provide specific health benefits for at least 10 years now. Of course, you have to interact with it in a certain way to receive these benefits. More on that in a bit, but yes, moderate alcohol consumption (especially red wine) does have a direct, beneficial effect on the heart.

Can you be more specific?

red-wine-and-heart-health

Ok. The skin and seeds of red grapes contain substances called flavonoids. Flavonoids reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) production, increase good cholesterol (HDL) production and reduce blood clotting, all of which are significant risks leading to many instances of heart disease. Each of these actions by flavonoids independently reduce the risk of heart disease.

Ok. So how much wine should I be drinking per day? 

If you’re drinking “for the health benefits,” a four-ounce serving is generally what’s recommended for women, and 4-8 ounces works for men. Higher levels of daily consumption than this introduce health risks that offset any benefits.

Is this true for all wines?

redwine-ecg

Unfortunately, not to the same extent. Here are two simple (and admittedly overly simplistic) rules regarding the number of healthy flavonoids in wine.

  • Red wines are better than whites.
  • Bitter red wines are better than sweet wines.

The best red wines have been found to be Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir.

So should I start drinking if I don’t already?

red-wine-ink-heart

Probably not. Most drinkers don’t have the discipline to limit their consumption to just one 4-8 ounce serving of red wine a day, and alcohol comes with too many other health risks to offset the benefits of not drinking at all. This is especially true in those with existing health conditions such as hypertension, pancreatitis, depression, high cholesterol/triglycerides or congestive heart failure. Besides, grape juice has been shown to offer the same benefits!

Enjoy your week, just remember (as I always say): good health isn’t found at the bottom of a bottle!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Cardiology/Heart, Health Prevention, Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Alcoholism and Alcohol-Related Deaths Are on the Rise

alcoholaddictionchains

Does it seem that alcoholism isn’t discussed much anymore, or is it that the public health community has focused more on overdose deaths from heroin and prescription painkillers of late? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcoholism and the deaths related to it are on the rise. Consider the sum total of the following statistics:

alcohol_risk

  • Alcohol is killing Americans at a rate higher than at any time in the last 35 years. In 2015, there were 10.3 thousand deaths from alcohol-induced causes per 100,000 people, representing an increase of 47% since 2002.
  • In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).
  • In 2014, more people died from alcohol-induced causes (30,722) than from overdoses of prescription painkillers and heroin combined (28,647).

alcoholrisedeaths

In reality, the annual number of deaths directly or indirectly caused by alcohol is closer to 90,000, as the official count of alcohol-induced fatalities excludes deaths from drunk driving, other accidents, and homicides committed under the influence of alcohol. This makes alcohol related deaths the 3rd leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

Where do you fit in this equation? Here’s the deal: 30% of American adults don’t drink at all. Another 30% consume less than one drink per week (on average). On the other hand, the top 10% of American adults (approximately 24 million people) consume an average of 74 drinks per week, or a little more than 10 drinks per day. The heaviest drinkers are at the greatest risk for the alcohol-induced causes of death.

alcohol abuse

An easy way to minimize your risk, assuming you’re going to drink, is to restrict your alcohol intake at any one time to 2 drinks per day. The especially good news is that level – defined as moderate alcohol consumption – is actually associated with a decreased risk of mortality.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Self Assessment of Alcohol Dependency

alcoholaddictionchains

The number one response to the post on acute alcohol poisoning was pretty simple: “How can I tell if I’m drinking too much over the long haul?” And so it’s back to back the Straight, No Chaser (literally) days. The problems with most intoxicating substances involve the same consideration. You had the most incredible time and got the most incredible high the first time, and you spend the rest of your life chasing the joy of that first buzz, which for most drugs you’ll never get again. The difference with alcohol abuse is that alcohol is legal and comparatively inexpensive, so you get to keep trying without much fuss (at least initially).

Let’s set the stage by standardizing some terms:

ALCOHOLICtendencies

  • Alcohol intoxication: You’re drunk and under the influence of alcohol.
  • Alcohol abuse: Your drinking habits are unhealthy, resulting in bad consequences (e.g., at work, in your relationships, with the law).
  • Alcohol dependency: You’re physically and/or mentally addicted to alcohol.  You crave liquor and seemingly can’t do without it.  Dependency involves withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is not in your system.  These symptoms may include anxiety, nausea, sweating, jitteriness, shakes and even withdrawal seizures.

Alcoholism is a chronic disease. Unfortunately, some of us start with a predisposition based on genes and strong influences based on family and cultural considerations. It is so much more than either a lack of willpower or an inability to quit. This disease has a predictable course and defined effects on various parts of the body, leading to specific means of death if unaddressed. Because I’m Straight, No Chaser, I’m not going to deal with the subjective “I can handle my liquor” or “I can stop anytime I want.” I’m going to give you some medical data that defines when you’re doing damage to your body.  It’s actually pretty simple.

Are you this guy or gal? (Keep in mind a standard drink is defined as one 12 ounce can of beer, one glass of wine or one mixed drink.)

alcohol_risk

  • Women having more than three drinks at one time or more than seven drinks a week
  • Men having more than four drinks at one time or more than 14 drinks a week

If so, you’re causing damage.  We’ve discussed the damage in these additional Straight, No Chaser posts.

Now let’s discuss dependency. Consider the possibility that you may be dependent on alcohol if you have any of these problems over the course of a year:

  • While you’re drinking, you can’t quit or control how much you drink.
  • You have tried to quit drinking or to cut back the amount you drink, but can’t.
  • You need to drink more to get a previous effect. (This is called “tolerance.”)
  • You have withdrawal symptoms (discussed earlier) when you stop.
  • You spend a lot of your time either drinking, recovering from drinking or giving up other activities so you can drink.
  • You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes physical problems.

So What?

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure no one is giving up alcohol by reading this. Alcohol is part of the American social fabric. We live, celebrate and commemorate milestones with it. It’s glamorized throughout society. It’s constitutionally approved. I appreciate that. In moderation, it’s a good time. Just understand that it’s not a free ride. The danger is in the insidious nature of this disease, meaning issues may creep up on you before you ever know what’s hit you. Then we’re having a completely different conversation.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: The Medical Complications and Medication Treatment of Alcoholism

liver-cirrhosis

 

There are interesting commonalities of certain drugs like alcohol and cigarettes. One is users that really enjoy them are able to do so for a long time while being oblivious to the growing danger those activities pose. Another commonality is even more so than mentally, when things go wrong physiologically, they really go very wrong.

Possible Complications

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse pose threats to many aspects of your health, including the following.

Symptoms in alcoholic liver disease copy

  • Birth defects (fetal alcohol syndrome)
  • Bleeding throughout your digestive tract, including the esophagus (up to and including rupture), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) and ulcer disease.
  • Brain cell damage
  • Brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (includes dementia, mental status changes)
  • Cancer of the esophagus, liver, colon, and other areas
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle (period)
  • Delirium tremens (DT’s)
  • Dementia and memory loss
  • Depression and suicide

Liver-Damage

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Heart damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risks for behavioral disorders including depression and suicide
  • Increased risks for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Increased risks for trauma, including motor vehicle collisions, violence and head injuries with intracranial bleeding
  • Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
  • Insomnia
  • Liver disease, including alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis and cancer
  • Nerve damage
  • Nutritional deficiencies

Treatment

alcoholism_treatment

Medical goals and patient goals are often different and seem to depend on the extent of perceptible injury that has occurred at the time of the decision to quit drinking. Often, patients will want to reduce drinking instead of stopping completely. Continued drinking in moderation is only as viable an option as the patient’s level of alcohol-related level of disease and the patient’s ability to stay limited in consumption and focused toward that goal.

Ideally, abstinence (the complete stopping of alcohol intake) is the goal, and it needs to be the goal if and when the desire to stop drinking is coupled with the presence of significant alcohol-related disease.

As everyone knows, the management of alcoholism requires multiple simultaneous approaches, including family and social networks.  It is often the family network that helps the alcoholic come to the understanding that alcohol intake has disrupted his or her ability to function normally. It is a most unfortunate occurrence when this has not occurred prior to the development of significant medical disease. Individuals with alcohol problems are more likely to take the steps necessary to successfully withdraw from alcohol use.

Regarding the medical aspects of alcohol cessation, withdrawal is a very important consideration and is best done in a controlled manner. Components of effective withdrawal address the various medical and mental health considerations reviewed earlier and medical avoidance treatment.

Medical avoidance treatment includes medicine that prevent relapse via various methods, and they include the following:

  • Antabuse (generic name: disulfiram) is a well-known and commonly used medicine that works by producing very unpleasant side effects with virtually any alcohol intake within two weeks of taking the medicine.
  • Naltrexone (brand name: Vivitrol) is an injectable medicine that works to decrease alcohol cravings.
  • Acamprosate is a drug that has been shown to lower relapse rates in those who are dependent on alcohol.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Gastrointestinal, Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Signs-That-You-are-Probably-An-Alcoholic

With all the focus of late on other forms of drug use and abuse (e.g., methamphetamine, marijuana, opiates), alcohol abuse seems to be lacking the attention it deserves. Fully one in six people in the United States has a drinking problem. In this segment of the Straight, No Chaser series on alcohol, we will explore problem drinking.

“Problem drinking” is a way of describing alcohol intake that causes problems with your functioning. Alcohol abuse is an episode or continued excessive alcohol consumption that causes problems with your daily living activities, such as family or job responsibilities. Of course, a single episode of alcohol abuse can cost you your life if you’re an impaired driver who runs into a tree or some other calamity befalls you.

alcoholism

Alcoholism is alcohol dependence, which is composed of two separate considerations:

  • Physical addiction to a drug is defined by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance is when you become acclimated to the same dose of drug, meaning, in this case, the same amount of liquor no longer gives you the same buzz. Withdrawal symptoms occur when you experience effects from no longer having the drug in your system.
  • Mental addiction to alcohol is illustrated by its increasingly prominent role in your life. Your life becomes centered around the pursuit and consumption of alcohol. It creates problems with your physical, mental and social health, controlling your life and relationships.

Many of you ask if alcoholism is hereditary. Hereditary means a specific thing medically, so the answer is no. However, we believe genes play a role and increase the risk of alcoholism. It is most likely that genetics “load the gun,” but environment “pulls the trigger.”

AlcoholicGrayscaleDiagram2

Regarding environment, there’s no fixed equation to if and when you’ll become dependent, but there is a correlation with certain activity and an increased risk. Consider the following activities as suggestive of a significant risk for development alcoholism:

  • Men who have 15 or more drinks a week (One drink is either a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5 ounce shot of liquor.)
  • Women who have 12 or more drinks a week
  • Anyone who has five or more drinks at a time at least once a week
  • Anyone who has a parent with alcoholism

Here are some less hard signs, but these situations also have been shown to increase risk, according to the National Institutes of Health:

  • You are a young adult under peer pressure
  • You have a behavioral health disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia
  • You have easy access to alcohol
  • You have low self-esteem
  • You have problems with relationships
  • You live a stressful lifestyle
  • You live in a culture in which alcohol use is more common and accepted

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: When Alcohol Becomes Toxic – Or Deadly

alcohol abuse

Ok. Did you have fun watching March Madness? Well, forewarned is forearmed. It’s not my intention to spoil the “buzz” of enjoying good basketball with your friends, but allow me to provide some liquor for thought. Most everyone knows the effects of getting drunk. What most seem to forget is that alcohol has a continuum of effects that isn’t restricted to becoming “buzzed,” intoxicated or just drunk. Alcohol poisoning also includes effects such as coma and death.

Some of you may be reflecting on the times when you felt most intoxicated. Perhaps it was a college event, a New Year’s Eve party or a sports event (or all of the above). Your first take home message of the day is alcohol poisoning isn’t about how you feel. It’s simply about the concentration of alcohol in your blood and the effects that amount of alcohol will have on your system. This is commonly described as BAC – blood alcohol content.

As BAC increases, so do the effects of alcohol. Let’s quantify the amount of alcohol that is associated with danger, how symptoms progress with alcohol poisoning and the different BAC levels that are associated with danger.

alctox

Amount

We’re talking about acute alcohol toxicity and poisoning. This is typically brought on via a large intake of alcohol (e.g., binge drinking). Bingeing is generally regarded as at least four to five drinks (for women and men, respectively) within two hours. This level of drinking will raise your BAC into the “legally drunk” level and increase the risk of adverse consequences. Such amounts can overwhelm the body’s metabolism and elimination of alcohol from the blood.  When this occurs, further alcohol intake will rapidly increase BAC and impair bodily functions, most notably those of the brain.

Note the following chart, which gives a rough estimate of the general effects of different amounts of alcohol based on your weight. It is very important to realize that weight, age, sex and other considerations play into the individual effects of alcohol on you.

bac

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is so much alcohol in the bloodstream that it is able to affect and shut down areas of the brain controlling basic life-support functions (i.e., breathing, heart rate, and regulation of your core temperature). Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion, difficulty breathing and remaining conscious, vomiting, seizures, slowed heart rate, clammy skin, dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking) and an extremely low body temperature.

BAC can continue to rise even when a person is unconscious. Alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. This makes “sleeping it off” a very dangerous proposition, and you should not assume one will be better by doing so. Alcohol is a depressant to the brain. Among its activities is dulling the gag reflex. Coupling that with alcohol’s irritant effects on the stomach, a person who drinks to the point of passing out is in danger of choking on vomit, which in turn could lead to death by asphyxiation (inadequate oxygenation). Even survival can leave a victim of an alcohol overdose with brain damage.

Effects

The following charts approximate the BACs that occur with varying numbers of drinks. Let’s continue to think about binge drinking, focusing on the following male/female charts after one hour of drinking. Although there is individual variation in the clinical effects of the number of drinking one may have, the clinical effects of alcohol are rather consistent at various BACs. These levels eventually reach a point of toxicity known as alcohol poisoning. This designation is particularly meaningful in that it reflects the level at which the level of alcohol in the blood begins to shut down areas of the brain controlling basic life-support functions (i.e., breathing, heart rate, and regulation of core temperature).

Male BAC

BAC Female

Clinical Effects at Various BACs

This next section is at a level of specificity that you won’t remember, but I want to go through the detail to demonstrate the increasing dangers seen with increasing levels of intoxication. Don’t be lulled into comfort by the lower levels. Even small levels of alcohol in the system affect judgment and coordination. Increased amounts affect the body and mind more dramatically, leading to the ability to kill.

The following effects of different levels of BAC are approximations. Individual reactions vary, sometimes widely.

  • BAC .02 percent to .04 percent
    This level tends to produce mild relaxation, loosened inhibitions and some lightheadedness. Prevailing moods may intensify.
  • BAC .05 percent to .07 percent 
    This level tends to intensification and exaggeration of emotions and behavior. Euphoria may begin, and a feeling of relation and warmth may overcome you.
  • BAC .08 percent to .09 percent
    At this level you’re losing an ability to accurate assess your level of functioning. You may have slurred speech, impaired motor skills and a degree of imbalance. Your sense of seeing and hearing clearly are diminished, and your reduced judgment often leads to continued drinking when this would actually be a good time to stop. This level corresponds to a diminished ability to evaluate sexual situations.
  • BAC .10 percent to .12 percent
    At this level you’re clearly suffering. You have diminished motor skills, coordination, balance, judgment and memory. Emotions become even more exaggerated at both extremes. Some people become loud, aggressive or belligerent, and others may seem depressed. This BAC level also corresponds to when men may have trouble getting an erection.
  • BAC .14 percent to .17 percent
    At this level euphoria may give way to unpleasant feelings. You have difficulty talking, walking or even standing up. Your judgment and perception are severely impaired. You may become more aggressive and are at increased risk of accidentally injuring yourself or others. A blackout may occur at this level.
  • BAC .20 percent
    At this point, neurologic effects are present. You may feel confused, dazed or otherwise disoriented and may need help to stand up or walk. If you are injured, you probably won’t realize it because you won’t feel pain, and if you do realize it, you may be inclined not to do anything about it. At this point you may experience nausea and start vomiting. Your gag reflex is impaired, so you could choke if you throw up. Since blackouts are likely at this level, you may not remember any of this.
  • BAC .25 percent
    At this point, all mental, physical and sensory functions are severely impaired. You’re emotionally numb. There’s an increased risk of death due to asphyxiation (inadequate oxygen) caused by choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falling or other accidents.
  • BAC .30 percent
    You’re probably in a stupor. You have little comprehension of where you are or what’s really going on around you. You may suddenly pass out and be difficult to awaken.
  • BAC .35 percent
    This blood alcohol concentration is similar to the physical effects of surgical anesthesia. You may stop breathing.
  • BAC .40 percent to .50 percent
    You are probably in a coma. The nerve centers controlling your heartbeat and respiration are slowing down, and it’s a miracle if you survive.

Let’s bring things full circle. Someone weighing 100 pounds who has consumed 9-10 drinks in less than an hour is at risk of death. Here’s how. The term “lethal dose” (LD) is used to describe the blood concentration that produces death from drugs (in this case, alcohol) in half the population. Most authorities agree that BACs in the 0.40 percent to 0.50 percent range meet the requirement. That percent is an average, not an absolute standard. Fatal overdoses from alcohol at BACs lower than 0.40 percent have been documented, as have cases of survivors at BACs higher than 0.50 percent. If you refer to the above chart correlating number of drinks, weight and BAC levels, you can now figure out how dangerous different numbers of drinks can be.

Alcohol_Abuse_Project_3_by_TomBod

Here’s a final take home message for you. Alcohol poisoning is a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical attention. You don’t have time for cold showers, hot coffee or walking. Not only will these not reverse the effects of alcohol overdose, but they could actually make things worse.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: First Steps to Take If Someone Gets Poisoned

poison first aid

How would you respond if you or someone in your home became a victim of an accidental poisoning? What if you stumbled across a family member who intentionally swallowed a bunch of pills? Would you know what to do or who to call? As part of Patient Safety Awareness Week and National Poison Prevention Week, this Straight, No Chaser addresses very basic first steps you should take in a poisoning emergency.

In a prior post, we addressed items you should have in your medicine cabinet. For this conversation, lets focus on two of those things: activated charcoal, which can be used to absorb certain poisons from your digestive system, and the number to the Poison Help line. Let’s just consider these two things as things it’s more important to have and not need than to need and not have. These two items generally are involved in the answers to immediate questions you will face.

QuickSign_S1111

What should you do if someone has ingested a poison?

If there are any signs of mental status changes or other life threatening considerations, you have a decision to make: is your quickest path to the local emergency room (not urgent care) your car or an ambulance? I generally suggest if you can get to an emergency room in the time it will take an ambulance to arrive to your home, then do so. If that’s not the case, the additional care you will receive when the ambulance arrives will make calling the ambulance a better decision. Once that choice has been made, then call the Poison Help line at 800-222-1222. No matter where you are within the U.S., you will be routed to your local poison center. At that point, you will be in the hands of professionals and instructed appropriately on additional next steps.

What should you do if someone has poison in the eyes?

Regardless of the source, you should rinse the eyes with running water for approximately 15-20 minutes, and while doing this, have someone call an ambulance or the Poison Help line as discussed above (800-222-1222).

poison-line

What should you do if someone has poison on the skin?

Before you help such a person, if at all possible, put on gloves to prevent yourself from becoming contaminated. Remove any clothing that has been touched by the person. Rinse the skin with running water for approximately 15-20 minutes, and while doing this, have someone call an ambulance or the Poison Help line as discussed above (800-222-1222).

activated charcoal

If someone has been poisoned, should I give activated charcoal as a preventive step?

Activated charcoal is very good in certain situations, but it is not a cure-all. The time you’d be spending attempting to swallow it would be better spent talking with paramedics or the poison helpline team. Once you’ve discussed the specifics of the poison, the decision may be made to give the activated charcoal prior to arrival by the ambulance or prior to arrival at the emergency room. Certainly if someone has blacked out, you don’t want to try to shove activated charcoal down someone’s throat. The risk of this black, gooey substance going down the wrong tube and ending up in the lungs isn’t a risk worth taking in a person having difficulty with consciousness. Don’t worry, there’s likely time for activated charcoal to work well when it’s indicated. You should just be sure in advance.

Again, remember the Poison Help line number is 800-222-1222, and protect your home environment. Don’t make it easy for toddlers, teens and those with suicidal inclinations to have access to potentially deadly medicines.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Health Prevention, Skin/Dermatology, Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: What Should NOT Be in Your Medicine Cabinet

medicine-cabinets

In the previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed the ideal use of your medicine cabinets to prepare for life’s nagging aches and pain. However, has it ever occurred to you that many people run straight to the medicine cabinet to do harm to themselves or others? I want you to know the harder the effort is to obtain items to hurt oneself, the less likely one is to follow through on the notion. On a related note, there’s a quick not-so-fun-but-interesting fact regarding one of the differences between America and say, certain European countries that has to do with the oversized influence of corporations in the States. Why am I talking about that on a medical blog? Read on. If you can’t tell where I’m going with this, you’ll get it pretty quickly.

Here’s my top five items I want you to take out your medicine cabinets and lock up.

SILO-POISON

1. Any jumbo sized container of any medication. Think about two of the most common over the counter (OTC) medications used for suicide attempts: acetaminophen (Tylenol) and salicylate (aspirin). One thing they have in common is you can buy what amounts to a tub-full of it at your local superstore in the United States. They should call these things ‘suicide quantities’, because often those in the midst of a suicide attempt will grab and swallow whatever is convenient. Many different medications will hurt you if you take enough; Tylenol and aspirin certainly fit that bill. Observing that (and additional considerations after the deaths due to the lacing of Tylenol with cyanide back in 1983), the Brits decided to not only pass a law limiting quantities, but certain medications that are high-frequency and high-risk for suicide use are now mandatorily dispensed in those annoying containers that you have to pop through the plastic container. Needless to say, observed suicide rates by medication rates plummeted as a result. Wonder why that hasn’t been implemented in the good ol’ USA?

2. Have teens in your house? Lock up the Robitussin and NyQuil. Dextromethorphan is the active ingredient in over 100 OTC cold and cough preparations. Teens use these to get high, folks. To make matters worse, they are addictive, and if taken with alcohol or other drugs, they can kill you. Then there’s “purple drank” (yes, that’s how it’s spelled), in which these cough syrups containing codeine and promethazine (Benadryl) are mixed with drinks such as Sprite or Mountain Dew.

3. Have any sexual performance medications? This is part of a category of medicines called ‘medicines that can kill someone with just one pill’. That usually refers to kids or the elderly, but remember that those sexual enhancement drugs are medicines that lower your blood pressure. In the wrong person and in the wrong dose, taking such medicine – whether intentionally or accidentally – could be the last thing someone does.

opioid30p

3. Any narcotic. Need I say more? Remember, you do have people rummaging through your cabinets on occasion!

4. Any sharps. That includes sewing pins, needles, etc.

5. Any medication with an expiration date. The medication date actually is more of a ‘freshness’ consideration than a danger warning. However, in the wrong patient, a medicine that has less than the 100% guarantee of its needed strength that the expiration date represents could be fatal. Play it safe and get a new prescription.

There’s a lot more that could be added to this list, but I like keeping things manageable for you.  Please childproof all your cabinets, and use childproof caps on your medications.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Toxicology/Drugs

Straight, No Chaser: Alcohol Facts vs. Fiction

alcohol and carbohydrates

Today’s Straight, No Chaser puts a personal spin on an old favorite because well, frankly some of you drink too much. Here’s your six-pack (plus one for the road) of common myths that are just waiting to be busted.

1. If I drink too much, I’ll get a beer belly.

  • FALSE: Any ‘belly’ is caused by poor dietary intake and insufficient exercise.  A beer drinker who’s otherwise in shape won’t have a beer belly.  The young lady in the picture above is more likely to get a beer belly from the potato chips than the booze, which will give her plenty else about which to be concerned.

2. I get drunker from mixing dark liquor and light liquor, or from switching between beers and wines.

  • FALSE: You’re drunk exclusively because of the concentration of alcohol in your body.  Nothing more or less.

3. Drinking coffee sobers me up.

  • FALSE: Alcohol is eliminated from the body by a certain fixed percentage per hour, regardless of height, weight, age or sex.  Nothing you’re doing, including drinking coffee or taking a cold shower is accelerating that process.

myths-facts-300x300

4. A man of the same height and weight as a woman can more easily tolerate the same amount of liquor.

  • TRUE: Women tend to get more affected by liquor than men because women (on average) have a higher proportion of fat stores than men.  This allows the blood alcohol concentrate to become higher in women quicker when consuming the same amounts.

5. Drinking more frequently helps me ‘hold my liquor’ better.

  • TRUE OR FALSE, YOU SHOULD BE CONCERNED IF THIS IS HAPPENING.  If you find yourself better able to hold your liquor, your first concern should be whether or not you’re exhibiting signs of alcohol tolerance, which is an indication of dependency – in other words, a progression toward alcoholism.

6. I can drive home because one or two drinks don’t make me drunk.

  • FALSE: For your purposes, drunk is a legal definition based on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).  Even if you feel fine, after a single drink, your BAC will be high enough to get you put behind bars if something happens and you’re tested, regardless as to how you ‘feel’.

7. I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a drunk.  Alcoholics go to meetings.  Drunks go to parties.

  • FALSE and only FUNNY until someone dies.
  • Actually, you both go to the emergency room. And to jail. Way too often. Like this guy arrested for a DWI after crashing into a cop car while wearing the shirt.  Stay classy.

alcoholicdrunk

If you have any other questions or myths you’d like busted, tee them up for me, and I’ll address them.  Cheers!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Toxicology/Drugs