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The Effects of Alcohol at High Altitude

If you live at a relatively low altitude, then you may have been warned of the effects alcohol can have on your body when you move to a higher elevation. That alcohol can more strongly affect the body at altitude is a belief that many people maintain. This conviction is founded upon the idea that the lack of oxygen at higher levels negatively impacts the body's ability to metabolize and process alcohol.

A study conducted by American psychologist R. A. McFarland in the 1930s concluded, with minimal research, that alcohol does have a more powerful effect on the body at higher elevations. He concluded that 2 or 3 drinks taken at a high altitude are equivalent to 4 or 5 drinks taken at sea level. Since these studies were made public knowledge, many have continued to uphold their deductions as factual.

Recent studies have shown, however, that alcohol, when consumed at altitude, does not affect the body any differently than it would at sea level. The Federal Aviation Administration conducted a series of experiments in which they observed inebriated individuals at higher altitudes and below sea level. They concluded that there is no correlation between elevation and alcohol potency.

Drinking at high altitudes does, however, exaggerate and enhance the dehydration many feel when they increase their elevation. This can affect one's physical and cognitive well-being, which may cause him or her to be unable to safely operate a vehicle.

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If you would like to learn more about how consuming alcohol at a high altitude will affect you, then the Seattle DUI defense lawyers of Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn can help. Contact us today by calling 1-866-822-1230.

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Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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