HEALTH MATTERS: The perils of Christmas drinking

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THE Christmas season has arrived.

Many of us will be thinking about enjoying the festive season with all of our friends and family.

As we commence the season of work parties, house parties, Christmas parties and New Years Eve parties, most people will find ample invitations to drink and be merry over the next few weeks.

Whilst many will reach January and look back over the season with happy memories, some will recall the adverse effects of drinking to excess such as the headaches, sickness, loss of memory and embarrassing behaviour.

For many of us alcohol is one of life’s little pleasures.

On a night out with friends, at a social gathering or celebration, or just a few drinks after a hard day at work to unwind, alcohol is never far away.

For most it is just the occasional tipple, but for some of us it can easily slip into a regular routine and drinking too much, too often, can lead to problems in later life.

That glass or two after work can soon settle into a daily habit that, if left unchecked, could cause harm to your health in the long run.

Studies have shown alcohol is a growing problem in the UK.

We drink nearly twice as much as we did in the 1950s. More than 40 people die every day as a result of alcohol in England and Wales, and more than 100 children call ChildLine every week, because they are upset about their parents’ drinking.

Alcohol-related problems cost the UK economy around £48,000 a minute.

Before long, drinking habits can spiral out of control. There are many concerns about the amount of alcohol that is being consumed. Binge drinking is becoming more common in the UK and we are trying to tackle this huge problem.

So over this Christmas period stay healthy, it’s important to know your limits.

The NHS recommends that:

•Men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol per day. That is the equivalent of one pint of higher strength lager, beer or cider… guys, you can only get away with two pints a day if it is really basic stuff less than 3.7 per cent.

•Women should not regularly drink more than two to three units of alcohol per day – that’s equivalent to one large glass of red, white, or rose wine.

Ladies, those really huge 250ml ones, for most wines sold will take you over the three unit limit.

So remember: have fun and surround yourselves with festive spirit but don’t over-consume alcohol.

And finally having said all that I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas!