Risk Levels

What are the risks?

  • Regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits risks damaging your health.
  • There’s no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if we drink less than the recommended daily limits, the risks of harms to our health are low
  • The Department of Health classifies alcohol use in three categories:
 Risk

Men

Women

Common Effects

Lower Risk Both men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units per week spread over three or more days.
  • Increased relaxation
  • Sociability
  • Sensory enjoyment of alcoholic drinks
Increasing Risk Regularly drinking 15-50 units per week Regularly drinking 15-35 units per week Progressively increasing risk of:

  • Low energy
  • Relationship problems
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Impotence
  • Injury
  • Hypertension
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Liver disease
  • Breast, oral, throat and bowel cancers
Higher Risk More than 8 units per day on a regular basis or more than 50 units per week More than 6 units per day on a regular basis or more than 35 units per week

Drinking at an increasing risk?

  • Men are 1.8 to 2.5 times as likely to get cancer of the mouth, neck and throat, and women are 1.2 to 1.7 times as likely
  • Women are 1.2 times as likely to get breast cancer
  • Men are twice as likely to develop liver cirrhosis, and women are 1.7 times as likely
  • Men are 1.8 times as likely to develop high blood pressure, and women are 1.3 times as likely.

Drinking at a higher risk?

  • You could be 3 to 5 times more likely to get cancer of the mouth, neck and throat
  • You could be 3 to 10 times more likely to develop liver cirrhosis
  • Men could have four times the risk of having high blood pressure, and women are at least twice as likely to develop it
  • You could be twice as likely to have an irregular heartbeat
  • Women are around 1.5 times as likely to get breast cancer.