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Also Known as blood alcohol level test, ethanol test, ethyl alcohol, blood alcohol content,   Ethanol Testing, Ethyl Alcohol Testing, Serum Ethanol Test

What is an alcohol ethyl blood test?

The level of alcohol in your blood is measured by a blood alcohol test. The Breathalyzer is a test that police officers frequently employ on people suspected of driving while intoxicated. While a Breathalyzer provides quick results, it does not deliver the same level of accuracy as testing alcohol in the blood. While alcohol blood testing is the most precise means of determining the amount of alcohol in the body, alcohol can also be assessed in samples of a person's sweat, hair, urine, breath, and saliva. An alcohol blood test can be used for various reasons, including workplace drug testing and determining if a driver is impaired while driving.

The major element in alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and liquor is alcohol, often known as ethanol. When you drink an alcoholic beverage, it enters your bloodstream and is metabolized by your liver. Usually, the liver can process one drink per hour, i.e., 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of whiskey is considered one drink.
You may experience the effects of drunkenness, also known as intoxication if you drink more quickly than your liver can process it. Alcohol's effects differ from person to person, based on various factors such as age, weight, gender, and the amount of food consumed before drinking.

 What is the test used for?

Alcohol blood testing can be used to see if a person has recently used alcohol or to figure out their possible drinking habits. The presence of alcohol in the blood can be tested for a variety of reasons:

Workplace Testing: Employers may regularly test for alcohol usage in new recruitments during employment or after a workplace accident. Although most private businesses are not compelled to try employees for the use of alcohol or other drugs, specific safety and security-sensitive workplaces, such as the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation, are required to do so.

Legal Testing: Alcohol blood tests may be used in an inquiry or a court proceeding. This test can be used to detect underage drinking, track alcohol use while on parole, and determine if someone is driving while intoxicated.

Medical Testing: Alcohol blood testing is a crucial test for identifying alcohol poisoning, a potentially fatal condition that occurs when your blood alcohol level rises to dangerously high levels. Fundamental physiological processes such as respiration, heart rate, and temperature can be severely harmed by alcohol poisoning. Binge drinking is more common among teenagers and young adults, and it can lead to alcohol poisoning. Binge drinking is a pattern of indulging in excessive amounts of alcohol in a short period. Binge drinking is commonly described as four drinks for women and five drinks for men in two hours, though it varies from person to person. Household products containing alcohol, such as mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and several cold medicines, if consumed, can cause alcohol poisoning in young children.

Monitoring alcohol use disorder: Some ways of treating alcohol use disorder, also known as alcohol abuse or alcoholism, include testing for alcohol usage. Testing can assist healthcare providers in figuring out if the patient is still drinking alcohol after they have recovered.

Why and when do you need this test?

If you are suspected of drunk driving or have signs of intoxication, you may need a blood alcohol test. These are some of the symptoms of intoxication: 

  • Balance and coordination difficulties
  • Slurred Speed
  • Slow reflex responses (Delayed reaction time) 
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Mood swings
  • Poor decision-making

If you or your kid are experiencing signs of alcohol poisoning, this test may be required. In addition to the symptoms listed above, alcohol intoxication can result in:

  • Confusion
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Unsteady gait 
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired Vision
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Low body temperature

What kind of sample is required for the test?

A healthcare provider will use a small needle blood sample from a vein in your arm.  A small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial once the needle is inserted. When the needle goes in or out, it may sting a little. It usually takes less than five minutes to complete this process.

Do you need to prepare for the test?

A blood alcohol test does not require any special preparation.

Are there any risks to this test?

Having a blood test carries relatively little risk. You may experience minor pain where the needle was inserted, but most symptoms disappear quickly.

What do the test results mean?

The blood-alcohol test results can be presented in a variety of ways, including as a percentage of blood alcohol content (BAC). Depending on the type of alcohol blood test performed, the results of an alcohol blood test might be reported in various ways. The amount of alcohol in the blood is reported as a number or a percentage in tests that assess a person's BAC. 

A person's test report will show milligrams of ethanol per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or millimoles of ethanol per liter of blood (mmol/L) when stated as a number. The alcohol concentration in blood is the percentage of a person's blood that is alcohol when expressed as a percentage. A positive BAC test implies that alcohol was identified during the test, whereas a negative BAC test shows no alcohol was detected. Negative findings can mean that a person did not consume alcohol during the detection window or that the level of alcohol in the blood did not meet the laboratory's threshold value for a positive result. A negative test result does not imply that the individual has never consumed alcohol.

The following are some typical outcomes.

Sober: If BAC is 0.0 percent 

Legally intoxicated: if BAC is 0.08 percent

Severely Impaired: if BAC is 0.08–0.40 percent you may have difficulties walking and speaking since your blood alcohol level is very high. Other signs and symptoms include fatigue, nausea, and disorientation.

At the risk of severe complications:  if BAC is more than 0.40%, it is considered very high. You may be in danger of coma or death if your blood alcohol level is this high.

The timing of the test may influence the accuracy of the results. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your results, you should speak with your healthcare provider or a lawyer.

Related Tests: Glucose testing, electrolytes serum and anion gap, CBC 

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