If you're someone who frequently consumes alcohol, you may be familiar with the health risks and negative effects it has on your body. However, lately, there have been numerous instances of alcohol poisoning, which happens when a person drinks excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. This can potentially lead to fatal consequences.
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Cause of death? An online challenge of drinking alcohol
Recently, a social media influencer in China, known as Sanqiange or Brother Three Thousand, died shortly after live-streaming himself consuming multiple bottles of strong Chinese liquor on a Chinese platform similar to TikTok, Douyin.
According to CNN, the influencer participated in a drinking competition with another influencer, where they consumed Baijiu, a Chinese spirit known for its alcohol content ranging from 30% to 60%. Just hours after the live stream, Sanqiange, whose real surname was Wang, was found dead.
According to a friend of Sanqiange, he had engaged in an online challenge called "PK", which involves influencers competing against each other to receive rewards and gifts from their viewers. These challenges often include penalties or punishments for the loser. In this particular case, the punishment was consuming Baijiu.
I don’t know how much he had consumed before I tuned in. But in the latter part of the video, I saw him finish three bottles before starting on a fourth
- Sanqiange's friend
A similar case from India
In February, a 45-year-old man in Agra lost his life due to an alcohol overdose after being challenged by two friends. What was the challenge? The friends allegedly dared him to consume three-quarters of local liquor (around 540 ml) within a span of 10 minutes.
The victim, identified as Jai Singh, was an e-rickshaw driver who accepted the challenge, stating that he would pay the bill of his friends if he failed to complete it. We don't know what was the content of alcohol in the liquor he consumed.
On February 8, he was discovered unconscious on the roadside near Shilpgram by his 16-year-old son, Karan. He was immediately rushed to two nearby private hospitals, but both facilities refused to provide treatment. Tragically, Jai Singh was declared dead upon arrival at SN Medical College.
So, what is alcohol poisoning?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in US defines alcohol poisoning as a condition when there is so much alcohol in the bloodstream and the areas of the brain controlling basic life-support functions such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control begin to shut down.
According to CDC research, in the US, 6 people die every day due to alcohol poisoning.
So to answer the question - can you die due to drinking too much alcohol too fast? Experts say Yes.
Dr Ankit Jain, a physician from Delhi, explains to dailyO that consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time can be fatal.
When you consume alcohol, your body metabolizes it at a certain rate. However, if you consume alcohol faster than your body can metabolize it, the concentration of alcohol in your blood rises to dangerous levels.
- Dr Jain
To put it simply, it is when your body cannot break the total alcohol you inject into your bloodstream.
Consuming very high levels of alcohol can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and damage to vital organs such as the liver, heart, and brain.
- Dr Jain
However, you can look out for symptoms. Some of them are: vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing, low body temperature, and unconsciousness.
Now we are not saying that every time you drink, it can lead to alcohol poisoning. In some cases of alcohol poisoning, you might just end up in a hospital (which is no good either btw).
[READ MORE: Can you die from drinking too much water?]
How much alcohol is too much?
Drinking too much is anyways harmful to your body, but alcohol overdose can be lethal. This occurs when you are binge drinking or doing a high-intensity drinking.
- Binge drinking refers to the consumption of four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men within a span of approximately two hours.
- High-intensity drinking, on the other hand, is defined as consuming two or more times the binge-drinking thresholds for both women and men.
For some context, as per Indian standards, the standard drink size is 330 ml for beer, 30 ml for hard alcohol (whiskey, rum, vodka, gin etc) and 150 ml for wine (red or white). Now, remember that each drink has a different percentage of alcohol content in it, so each liquor will have a different impact on your body.
So next time if you're drinking too fast, too much, slow down a little.