Can dehydration affect an alcohol test?

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Karl Kietzman

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Can dehydration affect an alcohol test?
« on: 07/08/2009 16:30:02 »
Karl Kietzman  asked the Naked Scientists:
If I had 3 drinks on a Sunday evening and was in bed, asleep by 9:00PM then woke at 6:00AM, had a blackout at 9:00 AM and a traffic accident then went to the hospital where I was diagnosed with severe dehydration and my alcohol content was measured at .346, couldn't the dehydration affect the reading?

I had another similar accident 6 days later and was diagnosed with dangerously low potassium and sodium levels and dehydration. Eventually found my electrolytes were WAY out of balance causing the blackouts or fainting.

Turns out my doctor had changed my blood pressure medication to one with a diuretic in it. The hospital doctor immediately changed the prescription to the same drug WITHOUT the diuretic and after a few days am feeling better than I have in several years!
Thanks for your reply in advance,
Karl Kietzman

What do you think?


Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Can dehydration affect an alcohol test?
« Reply #1 on: 30/10/2009 00:37:03 »
I think maybe you should stay away from the sauce. Maybe also consider taking a taxi. I'm not saying you are a bad driver. I know there are medical conditions that will change how strongly alcohol effects you. Several years ago a man driving across the Golden Gate Bridge (the one in California) had an epileptic fit, lost control and ran head on into another car (maybe more than one?) killing 5 people. He was charged with manslaughter because he was not allowed to be driving but was anyway. However this sentence will do nothing for the people he killed.

  I really hate when people use their medication as an excuse for bad behavior. Man up and take responsibility. Pay attention to your body. If you become ill of feel like you might pass out pull over. If you feel you can't safely drive, call a friend or a taxi.
« Last Edit: 30/10/2009 10:02:24 by mountaineirc1969 »
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Offline graham.d

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Can dehydration affect an alcohol test?
« Reply #2 on: 30/10/2009 12:26:01 »
I am not sure about dehydration affecting alcohol levels but I can see why you think it might. From my own experience I seem to find that if I have exercised and perspired a lot (after sport for example) I can quaff quite large quantities of beer without feeling so intoxicated when compared with consuming a similar amount without having exercised. Maybe it would be different had I done something a bit daft like drinking spirits in this condition.

It could also be that the drug you were taking could have had a direct effect on your ability to metabolise the alcohol.