Alcohol And Its Effect On Health

Alcohol consumption is a much studied, and sometimes controversial, subject. Most modern doctors and nutritionists agree that a small amount of alcohol can actually be beneficial to the body. It will do little harm that way. However, for a heavy drinker or alcoholic, there can be a variety of serious health problems caused by alcohol consumption.The human body is only able to metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a single time. When a person drinks more than this amount of alcohol (approximately one ounce per hour), the alcohol will be absorbed into body and affect nearly every internal organ until it is slowly metabolized.

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The liver is one of the most vulnerable internal organs. It is not easy for the liver to metabolize alcohol, and it actually causes some very dangerous side effects. The liver breaks down the alcohol by removing hydrogen. This means that excess hydrogen will be left in the liver. This can cause liver damage.In addition, while the liver is breaking down the alcohol, certain important enzymes and nutrients become unavailable to the rest of the body. This causes the liver to become saturated with these enzymes and pockets of fat develop. These cause liver disease which may cripple a person for life.Heavy alcohol consumption also increases the chances for heart attack and stroke due to the rise in blood pressure. Alcohol, when consumed by pregnant women, can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. Excessive drinking may even increase the size of the kidneys, running the risk of kidney failure.It can affect the way a body metabolizes sugars as well. It can cause hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, which both run their own very dangerous health risks including coma and death. It can also contribute to obesity in some people.Alcohol also affects the brain, both physically and psychologically. Physically, it can cause a rise in acidity in the body that can contribute to the loss of memory and some neurological functions. It can even cause irreversible brain damage. This can lead to permanent tremors or a stroke.

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Psychologically, alcohol is a depressant and can cause serious depression and anxiety. The results of these conditions can be malnutrition and, again, obesity. People who are heavy drinkers who experience these problems often begin to drink more which can lead to even more health problems.While drinking in moderation can be beneficial, drinking heavily will have the exact opposite effect and can amplify medical problems that may have been of little consequence before.

Alcohol And Diabetes – Effects Of Drinking Alcohol With Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease where the body does not properly use or produce insulin. The cause of this disease is still a mystery that affects over 20 million people in the United States. It is estimated that over 6 million individuals are not aware they have diabetes.Mixing alcohol and diabetes can be risky business. It is hard enough for diabetics to control their diets without using alcohol. They not only have to pay attention to what they eat, but how much they eat. It is only through proper diet and planning careful meals that diabetics can gain control of the disease and regulate it in order to live healthier, longer lives.Drinking too much alcohol makes it very difficult for the body of a diabetic to maintain the proper blood sugar levels in their system. Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the blood stream without fully metabolizing in the stomach. It can take a normal person about two hours to metabolize one average alcoholic drink. But when a person that is diabetic drinks alcohol, they are at risk of developing low blood sugar very quickly.

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People with diabetes that drink alcohol will always be putting themselves at risk of developing low blood sugar. Low blood sugar is what causes diabetics to having reactions. When alcohol is consumed, the liver focuses all it’s attention to clear the alcohol from out of the body. This means that the liver does not have time to provide the glucose the body needs, leading to low blood sugar, a diabetic’s nightmare. When a diabetic has been consuming alcohol, even a shot of Glucagon will be ineffective in raising the low blood sugar because the alcohol will stop the Glucagon from working.After everything is said and done, this does not necessarily mean that a person who has diabetes should never consume alcohol. This is something that needs to be discussed with a doctor. People who suffer from type II diabetes are better candidates for having an occasional drink. There are even some documents in medical journals that discuss how women with type II diabetes can lower risks of complications associated with the disease by consuming alcohol in moderation. The alcohol’s effects can decrease insulin resistance only when the alcohol consumed is a couple of drinks per day. If, after checking with your doctor and if your doctor says you can drink alcohol on occasion, then use some commonsense guidelines when drinking alcohol.

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Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Eating some food before drinking helps the alcohol to metabolize faster, so your blood sugar level has a better chance of not falling. Drink light beer instead of the regular variety. When consuming mixed drinks, stay with the sugar free mixes. When drinking wine, stay with the dry wines. Always drink in moderation. If you do not, then you are putting yourself at risk with your diabetes. Anymore than a couple of drinks can cause your blood sugar to begin falling too low.Overall, diabetes is the silent killer. It would be much safer to not drink at all. If you do consult with your doctor and it is alright to have a couple of drinks on occasion, then ensure you only do drink in moderation for your own health’s sake.

Wine, Alcohol and Health

“Wine is life”. – PetroniusAccording to Patrick McGovern from the University of Pennsylvania, wine is the oldest alcoholic drink known to man, with origins in the Neolithic age. However, grape domestication and wine culture began later on. There is still an open question whether wine was first produced for its taste or for religious purposes.Today only a few wish to enter this debate. Wine is part of our lives and the questions modern scientists try to answer are strictly related with the impact of wine on human health. Years of wine making has shown, that consuming wine has a positive impact on human health: wine drinkers are healthier, have better life styles and even eat healthier than beer or liquor drinkers and non-drinkers. Statistics even say that wine drinkers are less neurotic and have a higher I.Q. than the rest. “Wine is at the head of all medicines; where wine is lacking, drugs are necessary”. – Babylonian Talmud

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Alcohol and Diabetes – While we hear often alcohol has negative impact on our health, truth is that moderate consumption is necessary for healthy living. Yet, alcohol affects men and women differently. For example, Dutch researchers from the University Medical Center, Utrecht studied the relationship between moderate consumption of alcohol and type 2 diabetes in older women. Compared with abstainers, women consuming alcohol in moderate amounts were less likely to develop non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The Dutch researchers’ recommendation: not more than 30 grams of alcohol per week.Alcohol and Kidney Cancer – Kidney cancer risks, especially renal cell carcinoma, could also be reduced by moderate consumption of alcohol, according to a study conducted in Sweden. The Swedish scientists underlined that moderate consumption of alcohol also decreases the triglyceride concentrations in postmenopausal women.Alcohol and Heart Disease – According to Danish researchers from the National Institute for Public Health in Copenhagen, men benefit from wine and moderate alcohol consumption as well. Though research has shown that the risk of developing heart diseases is lowered by alcohol consumption in men and women, the most beneficial effects were observed in men. While men who drink every day have lower odds of getting a heart disease, daily drinking does not cut the odds for women.Alcohol and Obesity – One alcoholic drink a day decreases the risk of becoming obese, according to the researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Yet, this doesn’t mean that obese people should start drinking to lose weight. Alcohol contains many calories and it is still not clear how moderate consumption is related to lesser odds of obesity.

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Alcohol and Its Side Effects – The harm of the alcohol is dose related. One should not see only the benefits, ignoring its dangers. Heavy drinking is a class “A” human carcinogen. It is also proven that heavy drinking raises the odds of obesity, so take it easy on that booze! Heavy drinking is also closely related to liver disease, brain malfunction, increase of stress, hemorrhagic stroke and osteoporosis. Alcohol is not recommended to pregnant women – at all. So don’t consider moderate drinking as an option during pregnancy, as any amount of alcohol may cause fetal defects.

Alcohol and Health Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Alcohol and health effects of alcohol on the body can be short term or long term effects. The consumption of alcohol and health related problems can occur over a short time frame, while other conditions and long term effects of alcohol on the body may only happen following years of alcohol abuse.Alcohol comes into direct contact with the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach and intestines as well as being absorbed into the bloodstream. Health problems can begin as headaches, feeling nauseated, sore throat or indigestion. However, if alcohol abuse continues, these and other alcohol and health symptoms can develop into more serious illnesses and diseases.Here are examples of short term health effects of alcohol on the body:o Nausea, Vomiting, Dizziness, Hangovers – excessive alcohol consumption can result in the body trying to protect itself by getting rid of the alcohol and vomiting. Alcohol and health and the central nervous system are related since alcohol affects a person’s sense of balance and orientation, leading to a feeling of nausea and/or dizziness. Hangovers are partly due to the body’s dehydration caused by alcohol consumption, and hangover effects of alcohol on the body may be felt a few hours after consuming alcohol.

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o Loss of Muscle Control – slurred speech is one of the effects of alcohol on the body. Impaired judgement and poor coordination are alcohol and health effects that can lead to falls and accidents.o Adverse Interactions with Medications – alcohol is known to interact negatively with at least 100 medications. For example, antihistamines taken with alcohol can increase the drowsiness that this medication by itself can cause. Large doses of the painkiller acetaminophen taken together when consuming alcohol increases the risk of liver damage.o Pregnancy Risks – alcohol can cause numerous birth defects, the most serious being fetal alcohol syndrome. Babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome will have physical abnormalities, mental impairment and problems with behavior. To avoid negative alcohol and health effects during pregnancy, do not drink alcohol while pregnant as no one knows exactly how much alcohol causes birth defects.Because alcohol and health effects can involve many organs in the body, long-term heavy drinking puts you at risk for developing serious health conditions and illnesses. Here are examples of long term effects of alcohol on the body:o Liver Inflammation and Cirrhosis of the Liver – liver inflammation symptoms include abnormal yellowing of the skin, eyeballs and urine, fever and abdominal pain. And in the case of cirrhosis, as many as one in five heavy drinkers will develop cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol is especially harmful to the liver since the liver is needed to metabolize alcohol. Alcohol destroys liver cells, and it destroys the ability of the liver to regenerate new cells.

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o Cancer – long term heavy drinkers increase their risk for certain forms of cancer such as cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus and colon.o Heart disease – long term heavy drinking increases a person’s risk for developing high blood pressure and heart disease.o Pancreaitis – long term heavy drinking can result in the development of inflammation of the pancreas called pancreaitis. The pancreas are needed for food digestion, and pancreaitis symptoms include severe abdominal pain and weight loss. Pancreaitis can be life-threatening.Additional long term negative alcohol and health effects on the body include damage to the brain, nerve damage, bleeding in the esophagus, erectile dysfunction in men, insomnia and depression. If you’d like to learn more about alcoholism stages and warning signs, there are proven resources available that can help. It is never too late to begin recovery from alcohol addiction.Copyright 2006 InfoSearch Publishing

Alcohol and Its Effect on Health

Alcohol has been consumed for many millennia by people in many different cultures. It has been used to aid in social situations and as a feel good factor. It is effectively however a poison, and should be treated with caution if its negative effects are to be avoided.Alcohol and the hangoverWhen alcohol is drunk it enters the stomach where it can be absorbed. However the surface area of the stomach is not that great and normally most alcohol is absorbed further down the gastro-intestinal tract in the small intestines. Here there is a large surface area and the alcohol is quickly absorbed and taken to the liver for detoxification. If there is too much alcohol, then this will remain in the bloodstream where it will affect the brain, causing symptoms of drunkeness. The liver will get to work converting the alcohol, first to an extremely toxic intermediate substance called acetaldehyde, and then to a harmless product called acetate.Hangover causes:
The intermediate product of alcohol breakdown, acetaldehyde, is responsible for many of the hangover symptoms.
Other substances in drink unrelated to the alcohol content, called congeners, are also thought to worsen hangovers. These include tannins in wine and propanols and glycols. Generally the darker drinks contain more congeners.
Dehydration leads to sickness, nausea and weakness and occurs as alcohol reduces the amount of anti-diuretic hormone leading to increased water loss.
Low blood sugar occurs as alcohol stimulates an insulin response that shunts all our blood sugar into cells. The brain then gets short on its major fuel, sugar. This can lead to the shakes and lethargy.Hangover Cures:
Drink plenty of water. In fact the rule of one glass of water for every drink both reduces the total amount of alcohol consumed and reduces the dehydration. If you can’t manage this then at least drink a pint of water before bed if you’ve been drinking a lot.
Line your stomach. If you eat fatty foods before or during drinking, the alcohol becomes trapped in your stomach where it is absorbed more slowly than in the intestines. This gives the liver more time to detoxify what comes in and avoids a build up of toxic substances in the bloodstream. This reduces levels of drunkeness and reduces the subsequent hangover.
Eat after drinking. The low blood sugar caused by drinking can be countered by having something to eat. Eating anything should help, but a low GI snack including some fat and protein should provide a blood sugar boost. Perhaps some porridge oats before retiring to bed and then have eggs for breakfast. Eggs contain the amino acid cysteine, which binds to some of the toxins in drink.
Avoid carbonated beverages such as fizzy lagers. Carbonation speeds up the absorption of alcohol.
Supplements and medicines can be used for hangovers. Examples include milk thistle for liver detoxification, n-acetyl-cysteine, borage, propranolol, tropiseton and tolfenamic acid. However resorting to and paying for supplements and drugs would seem unnecessary if the advice in the first 4 points was utilised. Perhaps you should consider drinking less?

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Health problems related to alcohol: Chronic overuse of alcohol is associated with many unpleasant outcomes including early death. Binge drinking is also associated with significant health problems, both in the short term, and later on in life. Moderate drinking has differing effects depending upon the person, their genetics and the amount that is considered “moderate”. In small regular doses there can even be some benefits. Let’s have a look at some of the health issues that can result from alcohol.
Mental health problems.
Depression. Alcohol leads to a reduction in the brain chemical serotonin. The level of serotonin is related to mood and low levels lead to depression. Also low blood sugar may have the same effect in some.
Violence. Equally the pre-frontal cortex of the brain controls our impulsivity. Alcohol enhances the effects of the inhibitory brain chemical, GABA which prevents the pre-frontal cortex controlling our impulses. This results in erratic behaviours including violence. Not all people react this way however as brain chemistry differs.
Weight problems and heart disease.
Obesity. Alcohol contains calories and is converted into a chemical called acetate in the liver. Multiple units of acetate are then either then built up into fat or burnt as fuel. Given that sleeping is a common activity after heavy drinking, you can see that the creation of fat is the most likely outcome.
Heart disease. The extra fat that results from excessive drinking is a risk factor for heart disease. Also binge drinking can lead to an irregular heart rhythm that can cause heart attacks in those already with poor health. This is the reason for the glut of heart attacks in Glasgow every Monday morning when people are recovering from their drink fuelled spree over the weekend.
Cancers and liver disease.
Alcohol is associated with a number of cancers including liver cancer and cancer of the oesophagus and throat. It is the intermediate breakdown product of alcohol, acetaldehyde that is particularly associated with cancer, and this chemical is also responsible for some of the symptoms of hangover. It is a sobering thought that the discomfort of the hangover caused by acetaldehyde is doing you no good at all!
Liver disease is a well known consequence of chronic alcohol abuse. The liver gradually becomes inflamed by all the toxins it has to deal with. This is known as hepatitis. If chronic abuse continues cirrhosis can occur where parts of the liver turn into scar tissue and stop functioning.
Fertility and skin condition.
Fertility is affected by alcohol. Studies have shown that women drinking 6 units per week were 1/6th less likely to conceive than those who were teetotal. The more that was drunk, the bigger the effect on fertility. Given that alcohol also affects the sperm motility of men, it is best to limit yourself to very modest levels of drinking if you are trying to conceive. I would suggest less than 5 units per week for women and less than 10 for men.
Skin condition is affected by alcohol, with the skin disease rosacea being one possible outcome. This leads to a red blotchy appearance. On top of this a dilation of the blood vessels in the skin of the face can lead to the typical ruddy complexion of the archetypal drinker.

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What is a sensible level of drinking?The truth is that some people are better able to cope with alcohol than others. In general women and people of East Asian origin have less capacity to cope with alcohol as they have less of the enzymes needed to detoxify the alcohol. However, every individual is different, and if there is a history of alcohol related problems in your family then it is probably wise to treat alcohol with extreme care. Regular heavy drinking and regular binge drinking inevitably takes a heavy toll in time. Very few people will get away with large amounts of drink without experiencing serious health issues. This can be approximated as greater than 50 units per week for men and 35 units per week for women. However just because you have less than this does not ensure you are out of harms way. That is why the UK Government guidelines are a maximum of 28 units per week for men and 21 units for women. Even these amounts may lead to adverse health outcomes for some. The daily units associated with those weekly maximum recommended figures are 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women. The reason the Government came out with daily guidelines as well as weekly ones was in recognition of the fact that binge drinking was particularly harmful. My advice is that if you enjoy a drink and want to avoid any health damage then drink between 1-3 units for women or 1-4 units for men. Do this 2-4 times per week, but avoid going over this amount. Obviously having more than this leads to possible harm, but the amount of harm will vary between people. Ultimately you must judge for yourselves what value you are getting from exceeding sensible drinking levels as any enjoyment or thrill will be at some cost to your health. As a quick reminder: 1 unit is about 1/2 pint of a 3.8% “session” beer, 1 25ml single measure of spirits and less than a small 125ml glass of 12% wine (about 90ml).