If you're wondering whether it's OK to have an occasional alcoholic drink, check with your health care provider. A small amount of alcohol—such as a single beer or glass of wine with dinner—is fine for some people. On the other hand, drinking too much alcohol is harmful for anyone. Among the health risks are liver disease, various cancers, and high blood pressure. Drinking to excess may also increase your risk for falls and motor vehicle accidents.
If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), drinking alcohol may slow your breathing and make it harder to cough up mucus. Alcohol also fills you up without providing much in the way of nutrition. It may interact harmfully with certain medicines, such as oral steroids. If you choose to drink alcohol, be sure to discuss it first with your health care provider and to always drink in moderation. Experts recommend no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women and anyone older than 65.