Blood Alcohol Level: MedlinePlus Medical Test

blood alcohol level

But just because you do not see the visible effects of alcohol, it doesn’t mean you aren’t impaired. As your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) rises, so does your loss of ability. When a person reaches .20 BAC levels, they are significantly impaired. They cannot drive a car and may vomit, feel confused or dazed, and experience balance and coordination issues. Choking and blackouts can also be an issue at this level of intoxication.

blood alcohol level

What are the signs of different BAC levels?

  1. After a couple of drinks at a party or out with friends, many people find themselves in moderate or semi-high BAC ranges of 0.04%–0.10%.
  2. That glass of wine for dinner may have some antioxidants, but the benefits aren’t outweighing the negative impacts of alcohol on your body.
  3. If you have questions or concerns about your results, talk to your healthcare provider and/or a lawyer, depending on your situation.
  4. Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
  5. Christy Bieber has a JD from UCLA School of Law and began her career as a college instructor and textbook author.

Severe motor impairment, loss of consciousness, and memory blackout can occur. Once BAC increases above 0.06, there can be significant impairments to an individual’s reasoning, depth perception, light sensitivity, and peripheral vision. Emotional numbness and reduced pain sensitivity are also common. At this stage, the euphoria that some people seek when they first start to drink can become noticeable.

blood alcohol level

Calculating BAC

If a person does not want to stop drinking or is not yet ready to quit, there are still ways they can stay safe while drinking. The first two to three drinks typically lead to a BAC of 0.01–0.07%. A BAC above 0.40% has a risk of serious complications, including coma and death, according to MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

blood alcohol level

What blood test shows liver damage from alcohol?

But measuring one’s detox is more than just blowing into a breathalyzer and getting a more precise analysis of blood alcohol can often save lives. Under implied consent laws, if you are arrested, police can mandate you have your blood alcohol content tested. Refusal to do so can result in penalties including fines, fees, and the administrative suspension of your license.

How Dry January Reshaped My Relationship With Drinking

At this stage, the central nervous system can start to shut down. Breathing and heart rate can become so impaired that most people lose consciousness, and there is a greater risk of coma or death. This stage is characterized by nausea, vomiting, mood swings, feelings of anger or sadness, confusion, impaired sensations, and decreased libido.

Related Medical Tests

Take our short alcohol quiz to learn where you fall on the drinking spectrum and if you might benefit from quitting or cutting back on alcohol. Your genes affect how your liver handles alcohol, which means your race blood alcohol content bac or ethnicity can also play a role. Asians and Native Americans tend to process alcohol more slowly, so their BAC goes up more quickly. You may also get one of these alcohol tests at work during random drug checks.

The calculation is based on what kind of alcohol you drank, how much of it you consumed, and how long ago. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don’t need a prescription and any illegal drugs you may use. Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, and other things. Your test results may be different depending on the lab used. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.

It quantifies the result of a test to measure the percentage of alcohol in the blood. This level can be determined by a breath test or by chemical tests. To find out what your blood alcohol content actually is, you only need to fill the blanks with the number of beers, wine glasses, and/or vodka shots you drank. Do not ask friends; the calculator can only work with the exact amount that you drank. If you can’t, you don’t need to assess it; you are certainly drunk.

Doctors often do a breath test, but sometimes will draw your blood instead. Although the legal limit for driving is .08% in all states, penalties vary sharply. Plus, in some states, 2c-b alcohol and drug foundation drivers under the age of 21 have a different, much lower, legal BAC percentage threshold. It’s important to remember levels of intoxication feel different for different people.

You can calculate your BAC a number of ways, but getting an absolute, accurate measurement is impossible without a blood test. Use a BAC chart or online calculator to give you a reasonable estimate of blood alcohol level. Because there are so many variables which contribute to your BAC, it’s only possible to get an estimate without a professional test. Using your knowledge of your weight, the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed, and time can help you calculate your BAC and estimate when it’s legally safe to drive. This is when you’re fully sober again — it might be longer than you imagine! This number is presented below your current blood alcohol level.

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