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3 ways your health can affect your BAC reading

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | Drunk Driving

When you’re pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, you can almost expect the officer involved to ask you to submit to chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC). 

This is most commonly done through a Breathalyzer-type device, which is designed to estimate your BAC based on the amount of alcohol in your breath. You might think these devices are pretty accurate – but all kinds of things can interfere with their accuracy, including certain health conditions. Here are three that can cause your BAC to read higher than it should:

Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is a very common digestive disorder that causes stomach acid to back up into your esophagus at irregular times – especially after heavy meals or when you’ve been drinking. When this happens, alcohol from your stomach can reach your mouth,  leading to an elevated alcohol content in your breath. 


People with uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes may experience a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This essentially is your body’s desperate attempt to find a substitute energy source when it has an insulin deficiency or resistance. Breathalyzers can sometimes mistake the presence of ketones for alcohol, leading to a false positive or overly high reading.

Low-carb diets

Following a low-carb or “keto” diet can result in a metabolic state called ketosis, where your body starts breaking down fat for energy and produces ketones. This is very similar to what happens with diabetic ketoacidosis – and you can end up with the same unfortunate results with a Breathalyzer test.

If you’ve been charged with drunk driving and you think the Breathalyzer was wrong, don’t try to talk your way out of the charges. It’s far better to get some experienced legal guidance and talk over your defense options, instead.