Amy Winehouse Died From Alcohol Poisoning: What Is It?
It turns out, Amy Winehouse didn't die from alcohol withdrawal, as her family had earlier speculated -- a coroner ruled that her official cause of death was from alcohol poisoning, according to news reports.
E! Online reported that Winehouse's blood alcohol limit was five times higher than the limit for drunk driving (she had 416 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, while Britain's legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood). The singer died earlier this year, in July.
Winehouse's family released a statement that was announced by their spokesman Chris goodman, CNN reported, saying that the family was relieved to finally know what happened to the 27-year-old Grammy-winning singer.
"The court heard that Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol and it is a source of great pain that she could not win in time. She had started drinking again that week after a period of abstinence," Goodman said.
Alcohol poisoning is relatively common, with 50,000 people in the United States diagnosed with alcohol poisoning each year. It's caused by binge drinking during a short period of time -- the body absorbs alcohol more rapidly than it's able to clear the alcohol. According to the Mayo Clinic, it takes your body about an hour to completely process one drink (defined as 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of spirits or 5 ounces of wine).
With alcohol poisoning, alcohol enters the brain and causes a loss of consciousness, a drop in body temperature, low blood pressure, coma and even death, according to the CDC.
Symptoms of binge drinking include vomiting, slow and/or irregular breathing, confusion, pale skin and passing out, the Mayo Clinic reported. It's imperative that a person with alcohol poisoning -- whether all these symptoms manifest or not -- to see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor will conduct blood tests and even a urine test to see the blood alcohol level and determine if there has been alcohol poisoning.
Blood alcohol poisoning is treated with oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, monitoring and use of the nutrients thiamin and glucose, according to the Mayo Clinic. It's also important to make sure there is no breathing or choking problems (since the gag reflex is affected during alcohol poisoning).
Winehouse isn't the first celebrity to die from alcohol poisoning. Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC from 1974 to 1980, died from the condition at age 33, as did country singer Keith Whitley, also at the age of 33.
CORRECTION:An earlier version of this article misstated the ratios used to determine alcohol intoxication.