A blood alcohol test measures the amount of
alcohol (ethanol) in your body. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the blood and
can be measured within minutes of having an alcoholic drink. The amount of
alcohol in the blood reaches its highest level about an hour after drinking.
But food in the stomach may increase the amount of time it takes for the blood
alcohol to reach its highest level. About 90% of alcohol is broken down in the
liver . The rest of it is passed out of the body in
urine and your exhaled breath.
Alcohol has a noticeable effect on
the body, even when consumed in small amounts. In large amounts, alcohol acts
as a sedative and depresses the central nervous system.
alcohol test is often used to find out whether you are legally drunk or
intoxicated. If this test is being done for legal reasons, a consent form may
be required, but refusing to take the test may have legal consequences.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology
November 8, 2011
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