New alcohol calculator helps take guesswork out of totting up alcohol uptake

DO you know how many units of alcohol are in an alcopop? How many are in that glass of wine you pour in front of the television? How about how many are in those cocktails? You will not be alone if you don't know.

NHS Lothian has just launched a new section on its internet site to help you tot up your alcohol consumption.

A new online calculator, available through the award-winning NHS Lothian website, www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk can help you keep track of your drinking and assess if you should cut down.

Dr Dermot Gorman, Consultant, Public Health, NHS Lothian, said:

"Sometimes it can be really hard to be sure about how much you are drinking. And sometimes, that might mean you end up drinking more than you might think.
"Our online calculator might help. It's part of our increasing drive to get people to think about the health consequences of drinking and to help those who would benefit from advice to get appropriate support."

The online calculator is part of a new campaign by medics and other health workers in Lothian.

The next time you see a healthcare professional, perhaps your GP, or you go to an accident and emergency department, you might be asked a few questions about your drinking.

The first couple of questions are intended to assess whether it's worth asking you some more detailed questions to make you think about how much you drink. The questions will not take very long but there's clear evidence that this kind of structured conversation helps people understand whether or not they need to be making changes to their drinking habits to avoid potential medical harm.

Your answers to these questions are completely confidential.

The aim is just to start you considering how much you drink. Then, if you felt that you should be cutting down, advice and support will be provided by healthcare staff.

24/12/2008