What are some factors that can affect by blood alcohol concentration level?

You’re known as a cheap drunk, as it only takes one or two drinks to cause you to become intoxicated. Your friend, however, seems to drink all night before feeling anything. This difference in how alcohol affects you is due to a variety of factors.

The police can determine the amount of alcohol in your body by measuring your blood alcohol content level (BAC). Any reading above 0.08 can land you in jail. However, even if you drink the exact same amount of alcohol as someone else, your BACs can vary dramatically.

What Affects Your BAC Level

If you and your friend throw back the same number of beers, there’s a good chance you won’t have the same level of intoxication, and here’s why:

  • Gender. Women tend to have less water in their bodies than men do, and because alcohol is highly water soluble, females tend to become intoxicated more quickly than men when ingesting the same amount of alcohol, even if they are the same age and weight. Additionally, women have smaller amounts of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol than men do, which means they often feel the effects sooner and for longer.
  • Emotional state. Believe it or not, your emotional state can play a role in how intoxicated you become. Stress can cause your body to divert blood from your stomach and small intestines to your muscles, which slows down the rate of absorption into your bloodstream. When you relax and your blood flows normally again, you will likely experience a surge in your BAC and feel the alcohol’s effects even more.
  • Carbonation. You likely knew that what you’re drinking can affect your BAC, but you may not have known that the bubbles in your drink can, too. For instance, carbonated drinks such as sparkling wine or champagne, or mixed drinks with soda, can increase the rate at which alcohol passes through your stomach, and cause your BAC to spike.

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