After grabbing a few drinks with your friends you might wonder about the alcohol levels in your body. So the question is, how long does alcohol stay in your system?
Knowing more beforehand about how long alcohol stays in your system could help you plan ahead as to whether you would need to call a cab or not. The short term effects of drinking alcohol are disorienting on their own. Since the alcohol in your system is a Central Nervous System depressant, a person will suffer impaired judgment and senses, depressed reflexes, difficulty in balancing and in cases of alarmingly high consumption, unconsciousness and even respiratory depression. Hence it is safer to monitor your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and know how long alcohol stays in your body to prevent any accidents.
So the question that people often ask: “How long does alcohol stay in your system?”. First of all, to understand the amount of time alcohol will stay in your body, you should know a little bit more of what happens when you consume a drink.
Upon consuming an alcoholic drink, it travels down your gastrointestinal tract. 20 percent of the alcohol is absorbed in the stomach within 5 minutes, while the other 80 percent is absorbed in the small intestine in approximately 20 minutes. After this process, 10 percent of the absorbed alcohol is lost from the body through sweat, breath and urine. However the remaining 90 percent remains in your body and impair your senses by flowing through your bloodstream.
Your blood alcohol concentration reflects on how fast you metabolize the alcohol, giving you a hint as to how long alcohol stays in your body and affect your senses. There are several factors, and these include:
After the alcohol has been absorbed in to your blood, it will travel to other organs. Through the capillaries, it reaches the epithelial layer first, from which some of it lost as sweat. It spreads to permeate all of the tissues in the body and dissolves in the water within these cells as it begins its influence.
As the alcohol spreads it reaches nervous tissue, where it starts to impair your senses by depressing the central nervous system. It fogs your brain and damages your ability to balance yourself, so that you sway when you walk. Since the alcohol has reached your brain, it also disrupts your ability to make decisions and causes loss of memory.
The alcohol also travels to your liver and pancreas and you must know the damage that alcohol can cause to the liver. Drinking too much alcohol can cause fat deposits in your liver that subsequently lead to scarring and cirrhosis. Since there are no pain nerves in the liver you will not feel any pain even though your liver may be seriously damaged.
Having absorbed the alcohol it does not determine for how long alcohol stays in your bloodstream. In fact, your blood alcohol concentration may keep rising as you absorb more and more alcohol. If that is the case, then for how long does alcohol stay in your blood? In order to find out you need to use a BAC calculator that you can easily find online. Once you have calculated it, a BAC level of 0.02 is broken down in about one and a half hours. BAC level of 0.05 is metabolized in three and a half hours whereas, 0.08 is metabolized in five and a half hours. If the BAC level is more than 0.1, it may take more than 7 hours. You must remember that the legal limit is a BAC level of 0.08.
As soon as about 5 percent of the alcohol absorbed reaches the kidneys, the body starts expelling the alcohol through the urine. Alcohol also inhibits vasopressin, which is a hormone that usually conserves body fluids. With its inhibition, excretion of fluids through urine is increased and the body starts excreting alcohol within twenty minutes of its consumption. But to know how long alcohol stays in your urine will depend of how much you drink.
However urine tests can detect alcohol consumption for a very long time, which can be from 6 hours to several days depending on the testing device. While a breathalyzer test detects alcohol consumption within 24 hours, a saliva test or an ethyl gluconoride test can detect alcohol consumption till 12 days. Testing a hair follicle can even find alcohol for up to about ninety days!
After reading all of this, you are probably thinking of finding a way of getting rid of the alcohol in your system. Unfortunately there is no way of actually making your body excrete out all the alcohol faster than usual. You must give your body time to metabolize all the alcohol and eliminate it in its own pace. However there are some tips you can follow to prevent alcohol from overpowering your senses.