Tag Archives: Drinking


10 Habits to Kick for Your Health (Part 1)

We all have little habits and coping mechanisms that probably aren’t ideal, but it turns out that some of them are actually hazardous to your health. Let’s take a look at a few you should really try to kick if you’re concerned about bettering your health:

  1. Smoking makes every list of bad habits out there, but it is so hard on your body that we simply couldn’t exclude it from ours. Smoking causes over 6 million deaths annually and directly contributes to numerous life-threatening conditions like heart disease, cancer and COPD. Also, each time you put a cigarette to your lips, you’re ingesting over 7000 potentially harmful chemicals!
  2. Nail biting or picking – Some may think of biting your nails as a relatively harmless habit, but it actually can have several adverse effects on your health. The habit may leave you with disfigured nails, damage to your teeth and gums, skin or intestinal infections, and even psychological issues (it is a behavior that has been linked with obsessive compulsive disorder). Because of all the germs your hands come in contact with daily, nail biting also increases your chances of picking up a cold or flu or other type of highly contagious infection (such as impetigo). Eww! Time to quit this one? We think so.
  3. Partying like its always your birthday – the occasional social drink shouldn’t pose any risks to your health (unless you’re on certain medications), but if you partake in binge drinking regularly, you are opening the flood gates for many dangers to your well-being. Some of which include: depression, cirrhosis of the liver, neurological damage, gastrointestinal disorders, cancer or death by alcohol poisoning. So, if you’re a heavy drinker, get your drinking under control today before it starts controlling your health.
  4. Too much screen time – Excess screen time, whether it’s Netflix or social media binge, can be bad for your mental and physical health and social life. Being sedentary for large parts of the day without a break is never good news for your overall health. And many studies also illustrate a strong correlation between excess social media use and depression and anxiety, especially in young people.
  5. Your sugar addiction – We all love a sweet treat – but are your treats becoming more routine than occasional? You may be hooked on the sweet stuff. Eating too much sugar can directly contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic dysfunction (including high blood pressure and cholesterol). Too much sugar will leave destruction in its wake over time, so try to cut down today.
  6. Abnormal sleeping habits – the National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep nightly for adults 18-65 and 7-8 hours for those over 65. Are you getting as much sleep as you should be getting each night? If not, you should recheck your sleeping habits. Perpetually depriving yourself of sleep because of work or social reasons can actually induce insomnia and misalign your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Long-term, this can help contribute to many health issues such as depression, high blood pressure or metabolic disorders. Always going to sleep at strange hours can also wreak havoc on your body and mind.

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming up soon! Thanks for visiting DocChat.



Can Alcohol Trigger a Latent Breast Cancer Gene?

It is common knowledge that drinking alcohol raises your risk of developing certain conditions such as cardiovascular disease, but can it also contribute directly to breast cancer? The answer is yes. According to multiple studies gathered by the American Cancer Society, as well as a particularly illuminating study conducted by a team of cancer biologists and researchers from the University of Houston, regular alcohol consumption is directly linked to escalating risk of breast cancer development in women.

How Does Drinking Alcohol Raise Breast Cancer Risk?

Alcohol can raise the risk of breast cancer in several ways:

  1. By increasing estrogen levels in the body which can contribute to hormone receptor positive cancer development.
  2. By damaging cells – alcohol is known to mutate healthy cells into harmful ones that make any part of the body more vulnerable to cancer, including breast tissue.
  3. By activating a latent cancer gene and decreasing the effectiveness of cancer medications: According to University of Houston cancer biologist Chin-Yo Lin, “Our research shows alcohol enhances the actions of estrogen in driving the growth of breast cancer cells and diminishes the effects of the cancer drug Tamoxifen on blocking estrogen by increasing the levels of a cancer-causing gene called BRAF.”

How Many Drinks Increase This Risk?

Even consuming 1 alcoholic beverage daily increases a woman’s breast cancer risk. According to the Breast Cancer Organization those who regularly consume 3-5 drinks have a 15% higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who don’t drink at all, with the risk rising by 10% with each additional drink consumed on a daily basis.

What About Cocktail Hour?

We aren’t saying women should never drink – we simply hope to make people aware of this research-established link between breast cancer and regular alcohol consumption. If you are a moderate drinker who is concerned about your breast cancer risk, there are ways you can curb your alcohol intake but still enjoy socializing. You can enjoy your favorite drinks ‘virgin style’ or opt for a couple social drinks a week instead of a couple daily indulgences. The Cancer Organization suggests limiting alcohol consumption to no more than 1 daily drink for women.

Other Lifestyle Factors To Watch

Aside from watching alcohol intake, there are other lifestyle changes you can make to help decrease your breast cancer risk. While making these changes doesn’t guarantee you won’t develop cancer, behaviors that may help you beat the odds include:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Keeping your weight in check
  • Practicing caution when it comes to birth control or hormone therapy
  • Limiting toxin exposure

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll be back again soon. If you have any health-related questions, our experienced, board certified DocChat physicians are standing by 24/7/365!

Partying Too Hard? The Dangers Of Binge Drinking (Part 1)

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional evening of social drinks among adults, but if your ‘social drinking’ is turning into a few times a week, a dozen-beers-each-night occurrence, it may be time to take a good look at your alcohol habits.

Alcohol Disorders – Binge Drinking Counts

When people think of an alcohol disorder, they picture an alcoholic drinking alone every day, but the definition encompasses much more. While most people who binge drink are not necessarily alcohol dependent, years of binge drinking can have the same effect as an everyday drinker consuming less drinks per sitting.

Binge drinking can be defined as consuming 4 or more drinks in one evening for a woman, or 5 or more drinks a sitting for a man, according to the CDC. Moreover, 14 or more drinks a week for men or 8 or more weekly drinks for women constitutes heavy drinking. The Mayo Clinic states that alcohol disorders are marked by “a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop or decrease drinking.”

Binge Drinking Statistics

Binge drinking numbers according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Binge drinking is most common among young adults aged 18–34 years
  • Drinkers aged 65 years and older report binge drinking more frequently
  • Binge drinking is more common among those with household incomes of over $75,000
  • People 26 years and older account for 70% of binge drinking episodes
  • Men binge drink 50% more than women
  • Binge drinking episodes account for 90% of all youth alcohol consumption
  • Over 50% of the alcohol consumed in the United States is in binge drinking form
  • One in six U.S. adults binge drink several times monthly

Health Problems Associated With Excessive Long-term Alcohol Intake

Acute repercussions of binging include “hangover” symptoms such as nausea, migraines, vomiting, shaking or memory loss. Binge drinking is linked to many more serious health issues, including:

  • Sexually transmitted illnesses – people’s inhibitions are significantly lowered when heavily intoxicated, which can lead to unprotected intercourse
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in pregnant women who partake in binge drinking
  • Neurological damage such as chronic numbness
  • Alcohol poisoning or even death if blood-alcohol exceeds safe limits
  • Cardiovascular disease and complications
  • Liver disease and destruction
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers or inflammatory bowel issues
  • Early onset erectile dysfunction
  • Increased risk of cancers of the mouth, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colon, rectum or breast

Other Dangers Associated With Alcohol Abuse

Even though we are all aware of the dangers of drinking and driving this day in age, somehow people are still doing it. Despite the countless tragic stories we see on the news of an innocent child or family killed by a drunk driver, people make poor decisions when they are under the influence. Other issues binge drinking can lead to are accidental injuries such as falling and becoming paralyzed, or intended injury upon others such as an assault that takes place due to lack of judgment, unprotected or unwanted sex, or unintentional pregnancy.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Check out Part 2 next to read about questions to ask the doctor and available treatment options for alcohol problems!


10 Hangover Helper Tips

Hangover Man in a Bed at Night

There are a number of simple steps you can take before, during, and after the festivities that your morning-after self will thank you for.

1. Eat something

Alcohol is absorbed much more quickly on an empty stomach, so having a proper meal before you start drinking will help slow down the process and allow you to keep partying well into the night.

2. Take a Multivitamin

When you drink, nutrients like B12 and Folate are depleted from the body.  Having a multivitamin can replenish the levels that may be lost from drinking.

3. Keep Track, and Take Your Time

Our bodies absorb alcohol faster than we can metabolize it, so sip slowly,  and pay attention to how many drinks you’re consuming throughout the evening.  It takes the body about one hour to metabolize each drink you have, so keep that in the back of your mind as you go for refills. 

4. Water is Your Friend

This should be a no-brainer.  Alcohol dehydrates your body, which is the main factor that causes hangovers.  Experts recommend drinking one glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume.  Or, try alternating your booze with a non-alcoholic drink. 

5. Pass on the Bubbles

According to research, bubbles from champagne or carbonated beverages may cause alcohol to be absorbed more quickly.

6. Light Over Dark, and Expensive Over Cheap Booze

It all comes down to something called congeners, which are chemicals associated with the color, taste, and smell of alcohol.  A higher percentage of congeners has been shown to result in greater hangover effects.  Drinks that are darker in color tend to have more, as well as cheaper alcohol that has not been distilled as many times as their more expensive counterparts.

7. On The Rocks

Having your drinks over ice is a smart way to get a little extra hydration boost.  As the ice melts, it dilutes the alcohol ever so slightly

8. Skip The Smokes

A study from Brown University showed that smoking cigarettes while drinking increased the likelihood of having a severe hangover.

9. Get Some Electrolytes

The body loses more than just water when we are dehydrated, so it’s important to replace them after a night of drinking.  We recommend Pedialyte over Gatorade due to its higher concentration of electrolytes and low sugar.  We also love coconut water and have friends that swear by Emergen-C.

10. Breakfast of Champions

Fruit juice is a good option to jumpstart your blood sugar.  Eggs contain taurine, which has been shown to reverse some of that newly acquired liver damage.  Spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants.  Soups made with clear broth go down easy and are another great way to rehydrate.  Refuel your body and you’re well on your way to feeling brand new again.

Bonus Tip:  Know Your Pain Pills

Avoid taking acetaminophen pain relievers like Tylenol, because when taken in conjunction with alcohol, they can cause liver damage.  Instead, take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like Ibuprofen or Naproxen to ease your aches and pains after drinking.