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David Hasselhoff and Alcohol Poisoning

David Hasselhoff and alcohol

Actor David Hasselhoff was reportedly hospitalized this past weekend for alcohol poisoning. Whether he had alcohol poisoning or “just too much too drink”, the former 'Baywatch' actor and current 'America's Got Talent' judge is known to have problems with excessive alcohol use.

Alcohol is quickly absorbed by the body when ingested (sipped, drank, chugged, etc). When a person drinks on an empty stomach, approximately 20% of the alcohol will be absorbed directly from the stomach and can reach the brain in less than a minute.

Most of the alcohol ingested will be metabolized by the liver. The liver take approximately one hour to metabolize the alcohol in one drink. One drink is defined as 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of beer, 4 to 5 ounces (118 to 148 milliliters) of wine or 1.5 ounce (44 milliliters) of 80-proof distilled spirits. Mixed drinks often contain more than one serving of alcohol and will take even longer to metabolize. Drinking more than one drink per hour can give your liver more work than it can handle.

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Binge drinking (defined as rapidly downing five drinks or more in a row) is especially dangerous and can often lead to alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning is serious and sometimes deadly. The excess alcohol in the body can lead to changes in breathing, heart rate and gag reflex and potentially lead to coma and death.

The signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include confusion or stupor, vomiting, seizures, slow (less than eight breaths a minute) or irregular breathing, blue-tinged or pale skin, low body temperature (hypothermia), and unconsciousness ("passing out"). Not all symptoms need to be present for the person to need medical attention. Any person who is unconscious or can't be roused is at risk of dying.

A person with alcohol poisoning needs immediate medical attention. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, call 911. Treatment will usually consists of providing breathing support and intravenous fluids and vitamins until the alcohol is completely eliminated from the body.

Prevention is important. Alcohol poisoning can be avoided by only consuming alcohol in small or moderate amounts, if at all. Most doctors recommend no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two a day for men. When you do drink, enjoy your drink slowly so your body has time to metabolize the alcohol effectively.

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Mayo Clinic