5 Effects Alcohol Has On The Body – When you drink alcohol, it is absorbed into your bloodstream and affects every part of your body. After the first sip, the alcohol rushes to the brain, releasing feel-good endorphins and the heart rate can increase. For drinkers, in the long term, alcohol has a serious effect on your overall well-being, including personality and mental health. Most importantly, alcohol is a serious threat to your physical health. Below are the long-term side effects that alcohol has on the body after a long period of time:
Heavy drinking can cause brain damage and memory loss. A recent study looked at more than 36,000 middle-aged adults and examined the relationship between their alcohol consumption and brain volume. Researchers have found that one to two drinks a day is associated with changes in the brain equivalent to two years of aging. In other words, a 50-year-old man who drinks a pint of beer or a glass of wine a day actually ages his brain by 2 years. Participants self-reported their alcohol consumption during one year, which could lead to inaccuracies if they forgot how much they drank or if their consumption was higher in other years. So, while this research is in its early stages, the initial findings contradict the common myth that “a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away.”
5 Effects Alcohol Has On The Body
Another way that heavy drinking can affect the brain is through Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS). This debilitating brain disease can be caused by a deficiency of thiamine, a vitamin that most chronic alcoholics lack due to poor diet and poor absorption. Initial symptoms of WKS include loss of muscle coordination, vision problems, and confusion. If left untreated, the brain suffers further damage, impairing learning skills and memory. WKS can be treated with abstinence from alcohol and a healthy diet, but full recovery can take years.
Binge Drinking’s Effects On The Body
People who abuse alcohol are at risk of tooth decay, periodontal disease, and potentially precancerous lesions of the oral cavity. Many alcoholic beverages are high in sugar, which causes tooth erosion and tooth decay. Bacteria feed on sugar, so a person suffering from an alcohol disorder creates an ideal environment in the mouth for bacteria to multiply. The acidity of wine, beer and citrus drinks also wears down enamel.
Unhealthy eating habits, from excessive sugar and fat intake to insufficient intake of important vitamins and minerals, are common among people who abuse alcohol and can lead to gum disease. Bad breath caused by decaying teeth and infected gums is one of the telltale signs that someone may be suffering from alcoholism. Heavy drinkers are also at greater risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. In the long run, alcohol has a strong effect on this part of the body.
Alcohol is a sedative, so one of its properties is slowing down breathing. In people who drink for many years, alcohol damages the airways and prevents the lungs from fighting infection. In addition, alcohol impairs the body’s ability to clear mucus from the lungs, leading to an increased risk of pneumonia and other health complications.
Opioids, another sedative, are sometimes taken with alcohol to increase the stress relief and sedative effect, but this comes with great risk. An overdose can occur when alcohol and opioids are combined. The respiratory system can become so depressed that it cannot support breathing. Without enough oxygen to the brain, organs begin to shut down and the brain can suffer irreversible damage. If not treated immediately, it can be fatal.
Alcoholism And Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol affects the body’s ability to build healthy, new muscle because the substance reduces the rate of muscle protein synthesis (MPS), the process by which protein is produced to repair damaged muscles and increase mass. In addition, alcohol consumption disrupts the flow of calcium into muscle cells, affecting how muscles contract. Repeated abuse combined with a poor diet also prevents the body from repairing damaged muscles.
As a result, over the long term, excessive alcohol consumption can cause muscle weakness or “alcoholic myopathy,” a condition that causes the muscles to lose strength. Common symptoms of alcoholic myopathy include muscle cramps, spasms, numbness, and pain throughout the body. Acute alcoholic myopathy can also occur temporarily after a night of drinking. A balanced diet, physical therapy and abstinence from alcohol can help reverse this condition.
During intoxication, it becomes difficult for the pupils to constrict and dilate as usual. The automatic physiological function is disrupted, and the eyes cannot quickly adapt to different changes in light. For example, if a bright light suddenly turns on in a room, people who have been drinking often complain that it is “too bright.”
Alcohol also affects the connection between the brain and the eyes. As a result, this can cause double vision, a condition where the brain slows down the rate at which its visual system synchronizes information from the two eyes. The problem of double vision and delayed adaptation to changes in lighting make it extremely dangerous to drive a car while intoxicated. In addition, excessive alcohol abuse can weaken the eye muscles, change peripheral vision and the ability to distinguish colors. In rare cases, alcoholism can cause blindness caused by damage to the optic nerve.
What Causes Alcohol Intolerance And Alcohol Flush Reaction?
A fast or irregular heartbeat is common among heavy drinkers. Alcohol can also have a strong effect on this part of the body. In fact, some studies show that drinking just one to three alcoholic drinks a day can increase your risk of developing an abnormal heartbeat. An irregular heartbeat can cause fatigue, dizziness or shortness of breath.
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy, or weakening of the heart muscle, is another serious condition caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Over a long period of time, alcohol can thin and weaken the heart muscle, making it less efficient at pumping blood throughout the body. As alcoholic cardiomyopathy worsens, it can lead to other complications, such as heart failure.
The liver plays one of the most important roles in the process of breaking down alcohol. Responsible for producing enzymes and filtering harmful substances in the blood, the liver processes more than 90% of alcohol. In the liver, enzymes are actively working to destroy alcohol molecules, while the rest of the substance leaves the body through urine, sweat and breath.
The liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol each hour. As a rule, one drink per hour. When people drink, the liver can’t process toxins quickly enough, and excess alcohol enters the bloodstream, leaving consumers feeling intoxicated. Repeated heavy drinking can damage the organ and lead to cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver.
Signs Your Body Is Telling You You’re Drinking Too Much
The stomach is the first part of the body that alcohol contacts after the mouth. Excessive alcohol abuse can increase the production of stomach acid, gradually wearing away the lining of the stomach. If enough erosion occurs, it can lead to a condition called gastritis. Gastritis causes a burning sensation in the stomach, a feeling of uncomfortable fullness after eating and nausea. If left untreated, ulcers are likely to form in the gastrointestinal tract along with stomach tumors.
In addition to irritating the stomach lining, heavy drinking also throws the body’s gut microbiome out of balance, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Too much bad bacteria can lead to weight fluctuations, skin problems, and disrupted sleep cycles. Alcohol consumption destroys the cells of the digestive system, thus hindering the stomach’s ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients from food. This is why many drinkers become somewhat malnourished over time.
An additional long-term effect of alcohol on the body is damage to the pancreas, another important organ that aids in digestion. When functioning normally, the pancreas secretes digestive enzymes that help break down food and exocrine hormones that help regulate blood sugar levels. However, chronic alcohol consumption disrupts these functions, which often leads to pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas, which can be acute or chronic. This condition occurs when a large amount of toxins in the process of breaking down alcohol begins to damage the cells of the pancreas. In addition, digestive enzymes that normally enter the small intestine remain trapped in the pancreas and begin to self-digest the organ. The damaged tissue then becomes inflamed, and if heavy drinking continues, this condition can become permanent. Some of the effects of pancreatitis are jaundice, back and abdominal pain, stool discoloration, and vomiting.
Surprisingly Damaging Spiritual Effects Of Alcohol
The kidneys filter waste from the blood, regulate the balance of water and minerals in the body, and produce hormones. Excessive alcohol consumption can have harmful side effects on this part of the body. Because drinking alcohol causes dehydration, the kidneys and other organs in the body are overloaded with limited water. Dehydration caused by alcohol is a common cause of kidney stones because the urine becomes more concentrated and the body cannot properly eliminate toxins.
People who abuse alcohol are twice as likely to develop kidney disease compared to the general population. Binge drinking or drinking four to five drinks in less than two hours can sometimes damage the kidneys enough to cause acute kidney failure. This is when the kidneys temporarily lose their ability to filter, and a dangerous level of waste begins
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