A clinical assessment of the consequences of alcohol consumption in ‘communal’ drinkers in the Zimbabwean Midlands
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It is true, a medical history is incomplete without inquiring into the history of alcohol intake. The range of medical diseases associated with excessive alcohol consumption are well known. There are also several established screening instruments for identification of those with harmful or hazardous drinking habits who are at risk of developing physical, medical and social problems. The amount of alcohol consumed can be measured fairly accurately in grams of absolute alcohol when a known quantity of an alcoholic beverage of known concentration is drunk. For instance a half-pint (290 mls) of ordinary beer or a glass of wine or a single measure of whisky (known as a unit of alcohol or one standard drink) contains approximately 10 g of absolute alcohol.5 A daily alcohol consumption of 20-40 g is known to be a risk factor contributing to accidents, injuries and chronic health problems.