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Entries in Ethnicity (2)

Thursday
Aug042011

Alcohol Tolerance: Experts Weigh in on Genetic, Physical Factors

Ablestock.com/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Think you know your level of alcohol tolerance? Think you know how many drinks it'll take you to get tipsy? Think again.

Most alcohol recommendations are based on a 155-lb. adult male. Usually, drinking three standard-sized beverages – like a 12 oz. beer – consumed in under an hour can get the average man drunk.

But some experts say that many people don't know their level of tolerance. In fact, there are genetic, biological and physical factors that can make you drunk faster.

A few characteristics that contribute to your alcohol tolerance include weight, ethnic background, food consumption, and gender.

"We, in general, metabolize one drink an hour," said Dr. Corey Slovis, chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

But those who weigh less are more affected by the same amount of alcohol. A larger body mass index and a higher volume of plasma in the body contribute to the ability of larger people to consume more, many experts said.

Ethnic background, by contrast, is an uncontrollable characteristic that factors into whether a person can drink more and hurt less.

"The enzyme that metabolizes alcohol may be less abundant in some groups," said Slovis.

Some ethnicities, including Asians, have a genetic mutation in the enzyme called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which brings on rosy cheeks and a rapid heartbeat, even with a small amount of alcohol. Native Americans also metabolize alcohol much slower than many other ethnicities, said Slovis.

Is there anything that can at least delay intoxication? Eat more!

"The more carbs and the more fat you consume, the more you'll delay intoxication," said Slovis.

But that's no excuse to drink more, said Slovis. In fact, the delayed intoxication can be confusing. Some might drink more than usual, and the combination of food and drink can make you more likely to get sick.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Wednesday
Mar302011

Eating Disorders Not Just for White Teen Girls

Comstock/Thinkstock (MIAMI) -- At the peak of her eating disorder, Stephanie Covington Armstrong threw up 15 times a day. Any food in her stomach made her uncomfortable, and it was only when she vomited that "everything was right with the world," even if it was only five minutes until she would do it again. It was like crack, she said. Drugs and alcohol seemed messy but binging and purging offered that same high; the kind of high that would take away the self-hatred that constantly weighed her down.

For seven years, Armstrong's bulimia was her deepest secret. And as a black woman, Armstrong said, carrying the stigma of an eating disorder was even worse.

"There is that shame of not being a strong black woman," said Armstrong, a Los Angeles playwright and author of the book Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat. "People would ask me, 'What, do you want to be white or something?'"

More than 10 million Americans suffer from some kind of eating disorder, and many of them are not white, young or female, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, executive director of the Oliver-Pyatt Centers in Florida, said that, at any given time, at least half of her patients are not what society typically thinks of someone having an eating disorder: people older then 40, mothers, men and minorities.

"Minorities, men and older people have an even more difficult time," said Oliver-Pyatt, speaking on behalf of the National Eating Disorders Association. "It's almost culturally accepted for a young white woman to have an eating disorder."

Oliver-Pyatt said that many older female patients who come to her clinic actually did not fully recover from an eating disorder in their early years. She said many of this subgroup of women had a bad experience while receiving treatment for their condition in their 20s and teens. And now, many of these women fly under the doctor's radar for eating disorders.

"A couple years ago, treatment was very institutional-based," Oliver-Pyatt said. "They had a bad experience and were afraid to receive further treatment."

More than one million men and boys battle eating disorders every day, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. And, many doctors argue, the stigma for a man is worse than that of teenage girl.

While many people say that eating disorders are a way of responding to lack of control in one's life, Oliver-Pyatt said, such an explanation is oversimplifying the seriousness of the illness.

If you or someone you know might suffer from an eating disorder, contact the Information and Referral Helpline at the National Eating Disorder Association by calling (800) 931-2237.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio ´╗┐







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