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Why are women at a greater risk for alcohol abuse than men?

Women absorb alcohol faster than men. An enzyme in the body called alcohol dehydrogenase, or ADH, breaks down alcohol before it enters the bloodstream. It is less active in women than men. Women also have a smaller ratio of water to fat than men do, meaning there's less water in the body to dilute the alcohol and more fat to contain it.

Generally, a woman is considered high risk for alcohol abuse if she drinks more than seven alcoholic beverages per week or has more than three drinks in one sitting. For men, that number is no more than 14 drinks per week or four drinks in one sitting.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.