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What kinds of factors play a role in blood alcohol levels?

Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is altered and affected by many different things. For example, a person who is 100 pounds is more likely to get drunk on the same amount of alcohol had by a person who is 150 pounds. Other factors that can affect you include if you've eaten and the type of alcohol you drink.

Why is it important to know how alcohol affects you?

If you know what factors play into your BAC, you can always be in control of how you feel and how tipsy you get. You need to be clear on if it's okay to drink on the medications you take and on how your mood may change your BAC. Understanding what constitutes a standard drink also helps make sure you don't drink more than you intend to.

Why does eating affect your BAC?

When you drink, around 20 percent of what you drink is absorbed by the stomach lining and sent to the blood. The other 80 percent is absorbed in the small intestine. Food slows down how fast the alcohol reaches the small intestine, so it spreads out the length of time it takes to pass the alcohol through your system. Fattier foods help prevent absorption better than carbohydrates. Remember that your stomach can spasm in response to too much alcohol and actually reduce the initial intoxication but have a delayed response later on. That means that you could walk out of a bar feeling fine and be seriously intoxicated a half hour later.

These are a few things to think about when you drink. If you're stopped and arrested for drunk driving, your attorney can help you explain yourself and defend your actions.

Source: Lifeloc, "Factors Affecting BAC," accessed June 23, 2017

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