the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.

the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.

the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.

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the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.
the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) refers to the percent of alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol) in a person’s blood stream. A BAC of .10% means that an individual’s blood supply contains one part alcohol for every 1000 parts blood.

In California, a person is legally intoxicated if he/she has a BAC of .08% or higher.

 

Factors that impact BAC

  • Number of standard drinks
  • Amount of time in which drinks are consumed
  • Body weight
  • Water composition
  • Enzyme production and levels
  • Sex assigned at birth and corresponding hormone levels
  • Medications
  • Food

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One standard drink

  • One 12 oz. regular beer (4.5-6% alcohol)
  • One 12oz. White Claw (5% alcohol)
  • One 7 oz. malt liquor (7% alcohol)
  • One 5 oz. glass of wine (12% alcohol)
  • One 1.5 oz. shot of hard liquor (40% alcohol)
  • One-third jigger (.5 oz.) of Everclear (95% alcohol)

More than one standard drink

  • One 16 oz. cup of beer = 1.4 drinks
  • One 40 oz. beer = 3.6 drinks
  • One 22 oz. malt liquor = 3 drinks
  • One 12 oz. glass of wine = 2.9 drinks
  • or One 12 oz. margarita = 2–4 drinks, depending on ingredients
  • One 12 oz. cup of trashcan punch = 4–10 drinks, depending on ingredients
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the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.
the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.

What is it used for?

A blood alcohol test may be used to find out if you:

  • Have been drinking and driving. In the United States, .08 percent blood alcohol level is the legal alcohol limit for drivers who are aged 21 and over. Drivers younger than 21 are not allowed to have any alcohol in their system when driving.
  • Are legally drunk. The legal alcohol limit for drinking in public varies from state to state.
  • Have been drinking while in a treatment program that prohibits drinking.
  • Have alcohol poisoning, a life-threatening condition that happens when your blood alcohol level gets very high. Alcohol poisoning can seriously affect basic body functions, including breathing, heart rate, and temperature.

Teens and young adults are at higher risk for binge drinking, which can cause alcohol poisoning. Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that raises the blood alcohol level within a short period of time. Though it varies from person to person, binge drinking is usually defined as four drinks for women and five drinks for men in a two-hour period.

Young children may get alcohol poisoning from drinking household products that contain alcohol, such as mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and certain cold medicines.

Why do I need a blood alcohol test?

You may need a blood alcohol test if you are suspected of drunk driving and/or have symptoms of intoxication. These include:

  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mood changes
  • Poor judgment

You or your child may also need this test if there are symptoms of alcohol poisoning. In addition to the above symptoms, alcohol poisoning can cause:

  • Confusion
  • Irregular breathing
  • Seizures
  • Low body temperature
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What happens during a blood alcohol test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This process usually takes less than five minutes.

the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.
the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is called _____.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for a blood alcohol test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

Blood alcohol level results may be given in different ways, including percentage of blood alcohol content (BAC). Typical results are below.

  • Sober: 0.0 percent BAC
  • Legally intoxicated: .08 percent BAC
  • Very impaired: .08–0.40 percent BAC. At this blood alcohol level, you may have difficulty walking and speaking. Other symptoms may include confusion, nausea, and drowsiness.
  • At risk for serious complications: Above .40 percent BAC. At this blood alcohol level, you may be at risk for coma or death.

The timing of this test can affect the accuracy of the results. A blood alcohol test is only accurate within 6–12 hours after your last drink. If you have questions or concerns about your results, you may want to talk to a health care provider and/or a lawyer.

How BAC Is Calculated

To calculate BAC, the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is measured in milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 milliliters (ml) of blood. It is usually expressed as a decimal such as 0.08 or 0.15.

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