What does alcohol do to the body?
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. On average, one in every 12 American adults are alcohol dependent or suffer from some sort of alcohol abuse. Furthermore, millions more partake in potentially consequential behaviors that could lead to alcoholism or related issues. When you drink alcohol, it is taken into the bloodstream where it can affect various parts of your body. From short-term effects like blurred vision and trouble with coordination, to long term effects such as liver dysfunction and malnutrition, alcohol can have a huge impact on your body’s overall health and abilities.
Keep in mind that the effect of alcohol on your body can depend on many different variables such as your age, sex, health status, family history, how much you drink at a time, how often you drink, etc. Here are some effects that excessive alcohol consumption can have on the body.
Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the likelihood of irregular heartbeat, heart attack, heart disease, stroke and heart failure. The heart may be required to work harder increasing your blood pressure.
The Respiratory System
Long term alcohol abuse can increase your likelihood of pneumonia and tuberculosis which can lead to a decline in immune support. A lessened immune system can increase the likelihood of infections and viruses.
Alcohol can impact the brain’s control centers for speech, memory, judgement and movement which can result in slurred speech, inability of memory recall, impulsive actions and uncontrollable instability. When dealing with alcoholism, you may experience hallucinations as a result of removing the addictive substance.
One of the most impacted organs from overconsumption of alcohol is the liver. Excessive alcohol intake may cause the pancreas to produce more toxins causing inflammation or pancreatitis. The liver then steps in to rid of the toxic substances in the body. If you drink too much, the liver’s job may be greatly impacted causing you to suffer from conditions like jaundice, cirrhosis and in some severe cases, liver failure.
The GI Tract
Diarrhea, gassiness, abdominal discomfort and malabsorption are common symptoms of too much alcohol. And as mentioned previously, inflammation of the pancreas can even deter your body’s ability to digest foods and thus interfere with regulation of metabolism. Additionally, too much alcohol may result in gastric, colon and esophageal cancer.
The Muscles and Bones
Alcohol can inhibit hydration in the body and cause muscle fatigue, weakness and cramping. Drinking increases likelihood of weakened bones which can lead to osteoporosis.
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC