Going for a checkup? You may be screened for alcohol use
Here's to your health.
Screening and counseling for unhealthy alcohol use could become part of a standard doctor's visit, according to the United States Preventive Services Task Force. The organization, funded and staffed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published its recommendation in the medical journal JAMA.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force "recommends screening for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings in adults 18 years or older, including pregnant women, and providing persons engaged in risky or hazardous drinking with brief behavioral counseling interventions to reduce unhealthy alcohol use," according to the report. The organization didn't conclude such a screening was necessary for underage drinkers.
According to the abstract at the start of the report, an estimated 88,000 alcohol-attributed deaths occurred annually between 2006 and 2010 in the U.S. That number includes "acute conditions" such as car accidents and "chronic conditions" such as liver disease.
The report cites statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to define "risky use" of alcohol as exceeding the recommended limits of four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for healthy adult men aged 21 to 64. For women, "risky" drinking is defined as three drinks per day or seven drinks per week. That standard also applied to men 65 or older.
A standard drink, according to the study, is defined as a 12-ounce beer (5 percent alcohol), a 5-ounce wine (12 percent alcohol) or 1.5 ounces of liquor (40 percent alcohol).
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